KANSO Home Goods Pop-Up

Meaning "simplicity" in Japanese, KANSO is a new home goods shop dedicated to the meticulous curation of minimal Japanese and Scandinavian design. Sourcing functional, unique objects from around the world, KANSO offers thoughtfully designed pieces for the modern home. "Good design allows for a more enjoyable life," says Jason Duke, KANSO's owner. "The products featured are not only functional but designed thoughtfully with the user in mind." 

KANSO was founded by Duke out of a desire to furnish his newly renovated Prairie Village home with minimalist goods. After some difficulty finding products that captured his taste for intentional design and enhanced user experience, Duke decided to launch a web-store dedicated to helping others appreciate good design in all aspects of daily life. KANSO has since spawned into a pop-up shop in partnership with anaphora, a local women's boutique located in Prairiefire, dedicated to international designers and simple, contemporary silhouettes. We had the chance to sit down with Duke and ask a few questions. 



What inspired you to create KANSO?

"KANSO was created to scratch my family’s itch. We remodeled a home in Prairie Village, that has a minimalist aesthetic. We have always been drawn to living with less. In a tiring world of perishable items that easily break, I wanted to curate a collection of beautiful objects designed and produced so well that their owners may never have to change them again. Japanese and Scandinavian designers tend to design their objects with this idea in mind. They believe in clean lines, eliminating the unnecessary, and that objects should be designed with a purpose and be functional with the user in mind. Many of these designers and brands are hard to come by in the Midwest. So we thought why not introduce Kansas City to this way of life and design aesthetic."

Tell us about the design of the pop-up shop.

I felt the pop-up store should embody the KANSO ethos; less is more. I thought about a perfect wooden box, and how it resembles a pared-down structure of a home, this became the design philosophy for the pop-up. I wanted to express the everyday objects in an approachable, simple, and natural manner. I also wanted it to be functional. We designed each side of the cube with a distinct purpose. 


How did you come up with the name for KANSO?

Kanso means "Simplicity or elimination of clutter" in Japanese. Kanso sums up our way of life in one word.

How do you relax after a long day of creative work?

Relaxation with a four-year-old at home seems like a rare state of mind these days.

I have always found music with words very distracting. To relax my hyper-active mind, I play one song on repeat, “Waterways” by Ludovico Einaudi. It’s beautiful, and the repetition of the song allows my mind to let go all the thoughts from the day. I have done this for years, and it works well for me. While listening to this song, I love to sit in our lounger with a glass of Malbec while reading Monocle, Kinfolk, or Cereal.


What people/places/things do you find yourself constantly going back to for inspiration?

Instagram, hands down. It is a constant inspiration from the most creative people around the world. 

My home is also a big inspiration of mine. We curate products that are meant to be used every day. So we are inspired by our daily life to source products that make our day to day a little more enjoyable.

Name a designer who inspires you. Name one who you think is underrated.

Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Kasper Ronn are current favorites of mine. While iconic designers such as Sori Yanagi, Dieter Rams, and Jasper Morrison are the ones that have shaped our way of life.

Most underrated designer? You'll find out soon enough when we introduce them to our store offerings. 


Name three essentials that you can’t leave home without.

My iPhone 7, because I am a millennial and can’t be without it for more than three minutes. ;)

My Zojirushi travel mug. You will not find a better mug for your coffee.

My Skagen watch which was a gift for my 30th birthday. It's perfectly understated and goes with everything. It’s affordable, but extremely well made. It also reminds me of my life partner every time I check the time.

Current song or album you’ve been listening to, a book you're reading, or Instagram you're following?

Current song on repeat - May I Have This Dance (Remix) by Francis and the Lights w/ Chance the Rapper. Our family blares this song in the car, while we cook, and anytime in between. My daughter goes nuts to it, and it puts the biggest smile on my face every time.

Books - I use Blinkist to digest books efficiently. I think non-fiction books have too much fluff. I’ve read this book probably ten times, but “Rework” by Jason Fried is currently on my nightstand to keep me focused during this new venture.

Instagram - @rubenhughes. He has been a constant inspiration of mine for years. His view of our world is impeccable.