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Enduring Values

The bond linking AGOBAY to Japan is profound and multi-faceted. It covers everything from a way of being and engaging with one another to the values and principles we live by. It includes a love for details that reflects true caring, an elegance present in every gesture, and thoughtfulness that extends beyond the immediately visible.

In the realm of design, it often manifests in a reduction to the essence that feels liberating in its unpretentiousness. And it is celebrated in the genuine appreciation of true craftsmanship, which, in Japan, is still revered as a form of art and expression. This is something we deeply respect, wish to learn from, and raise awareness about. For René Allemann, our founder and creative director, the Japanese approach to the art of living and craftmanship were one of the core inspirations for the foundation of AGOBAY.

AGOBAY is an expression of who I am and what I long for. It’s very personal and, as such, inspired by my profound respect for the Japanese culture of craftsmanship – with its pursuit of simplicity, love of detail, and exceptional thoughtfulness.


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Since our beginnings we have established deep bonds with talented Japanese artisans, designers and artists who pass on unique crafts and methods from generation to generation, believing in their value. Our initial encounters have developed into memorable experiences and true partnerships. We are proud to provide a curated platform for them to connect with those, both near and far, who appreciate artistry refined over centuries. We are equally grateful to have encountered and bonded with visionary creators, such as Shinichiro Ogata, who is dedicated to preserving the essence of traditional craftsmanship while adapting it for contemporary life. He envisions a ‘new way of living’ where the ancient takes on a timeless form that not only fits but enriches our lives. This is exemplified by craft makers such as Ko Kado, who blends the ways of thinking and looking at things learned during his graphic design studies with the traditional craft of ‘karakami’ (decorative paper). With every partnership new ties are formed, making everyone an integral part of our journey.


Guided by these values, AGOBAY aims to create and celebrate objects, places and experiences that instil a sense of serenity in our lives. As they are often rare to find and hard to reach, we embark on a journey to reveal them – much like the female divers known as ‘Ama’ (Japanese for ‘women of the sea’). Along a picturesque stretch of the Japanese coastline called Ago-wan (英虞湾) – which inspired AGOBAY’s name – ‘Ama’ free-dive into the ocean’s depths to uncover its marvels. While they are known for the pearls they bring to shore, we refer to our rare finds as escapes. Because in their presence, we live through magical moments where time slows, every detail falls into place and our senses are awakened to experience fully.


Created in collaboration with Kyoto-based calligrapher Mikiko Kayama, our Japanese logo consists of Kanji script, an ancient writing system where each character embodies specific ideas through its form, with pronunciations that can vary depending on context and combination. Many Japanese words are formed by combining two or more Kanji characters; compounding adds layers of meaning and expresses complex ideas succinctly.

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In Japanese, AGOBAY is represented as 玄渓 (‘genkei’). The character 玄 (‘gen’) represents ‘truth’ but can also mean ‘dark’ or ‘black’. It stands for a shade of black that is almost, but not quite, pitch-black – a hue that guides us into the day, rather than into the night. With it, we aim to convey our aspiration to explore deeper meanings and forge significant connections. While ‘gen’ encapsulates a profound essence, it also carries an uplifting spirit, evoking a feeling of peace and fulfilment. When paired with the character for ‘human’, it becomes 玄人(‘kuroto’), denoting a person who excels in a craft. This pays homage to the skilled artisans who shape our present and future, embodying our belief in the significance of true craftsmanship and the creation of lasting pieces. Representing a valley, the character 渓 (‘kei’) conveys an unfolding landscape – an image that often elicits a sense of wonder and calm. It encapsulates the concept of leading a conscious life and making the time to simply be, gently inviting us to actively seek escapes amidst our daily routines.

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At the heart of 玄渓 (‘genkei’) lies the driving force behind our pursuit for the original form, where simplicity and timeless beauty intertwine.