If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch or the Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked New York artist Daniel Arsham, who’s also a co-founder of Snarkitecture (which has its own coffee-table book, now), about the Japanese thermos, camera, and notebook he can’t live without.
There’s a store in Tokyo called Tokyu Hands where I was buying my notebooks for years — I liked that they had grids and were different from what you could get in the U.S. Then a few years ago I redesigned them for the studio by adding a calendar to each page and a clear area with no grid for taking notes.
My wife got this thermos maybe 15 or 20 years ago in Japan, before I even knew her. And now I use it. The design is very simple — a lot of the newer ones have a different seal on top that’s just not as functional or as easy to clean. It’s very basic and utilitarian and yet kind of perfectly designed. With the newer ones they overthought things and messed it up.
My wife’s been buying me these bright green earplugs because I travel so often to different hotels, and they’re so noisy that I can’t fall asleep. I’ll wear these on the plane and put my noise-canceling headphones on over them (I use Beats). So yes, I’m in total zero-sound.
I used to make a lot of drawings as reference for people while I was in the studio, and then I’d try to take a photo of that drawing in really bad light and send it to them, but it was such an imperfect system. Now I use the Apple Pen to draw directly onto my iPad and — the tablet is just a lot more flexible and you have the option of so many different brushes once you get used to the stylus. I can’t imagine not having this anymore.
I had a gym membership and it was just going to waste, so I took that money I was spending on it and bought this bike. It’s like a spin class that you can do either through live-streaming or prerecorded videos. What’s great about it is that occasionally I’ll be staying in a hotel that has one, and I’ll log in and it has all my information right there, ready to go. There are a ton of different instructors, but there are a few I tend to like. Thirty minutes of really loud hip-hop on a stationary bike is perfect for me.
I’ve been shooting photos ever since I was young, and even though I use my iPhone’s camera a lot, I like to take pictures with a real one just as a personal hobby. This one’s particularly special because it’s so technical. It’s a digital object that still houses the lenses I have that were made 50 years ago, because the lens mount is exactly the same. Every time I use it, it’s like a combination of vintage and new technology.
I’ve destroyed so much luggage. And then I finally had enough money to get Rimowa, and they’re basically indestructible. And if they ever do get damaged, all I do is replace that one part of it that’s broken because the rest of it is going to be fine. It’s also meant to take some wear. The dents become part of the case. By now I have so many, but my first one I’ve had for ten years.
I have so many sneakers in my luggage. I just recently did some designs with Adidas that I’m wearing all the time, and Jordans are usually in my suitcase, depending on my mood. My wife’s always complaining that I have too many sneakers. I was actually just in Toronto to go to this amazing new space that the Weeknd and his business partners have opened called Hxouse, and my suitcase was full of sneakers. I definitely have more shoes than my wife does.