30 Oct Inside Out Magazine Nov Dec 2010
From Mauritania to Melbourne, Jason Mowen searches the globe for pieces to display in his new Sydney shop
Words Lee Tran Tam, Photography Craig Wall
While growing up in Papua New Guinea and Queensland, “I was constantly looking at maps”, says Jason Mowen. His geographical curiosity – and interest in home decor and retail fashion – ended up sending him around the world. In Amman, he worked with interior designer Jonathan Reed on the palace for Jordan’s royal family, while in London’s Covent Garden, he ran a menswear boutique for seven years. His latest venture is the eponymous store, which is located in Sydney’s “beautiful and historic neighbourhood” of Redfern.
The showroom reveals a colourful and surprising range: there are vivid rugs from Mauritania, mid-century bronze vases from Japan, a Koranic tablet from Morocco, a spectacular floor lamp from Italy and artworks from Melbourne artists Robert Doble and Simon Strong. There’s even a bell-shaped mirro that “was a gift from the daughter of Imelda Marcos to a friend of mine”, says Jason.
What makes the collection so striking is the shop owner’s “no rules” approach – and the fact that Jason can go to stunning lengths to source items for clients. In Istanbul, he underwent a search for coloured-crystal Turkish chandeliers that spanned many days and kilometres – and a near-missed plane ride home. And after a market-haul of 19th-century ceramic vases, metre-long Texan longhorns and 1970s folding chairs, he boarded a Paris train with only two French words to get him past the incredulous conductor. “That was tricky!”
Jason Mowen, 34 Redfern Street, Redfern NSW. Call (02) 8084 3564 or visit the website at www.jasonmowen.com