New Bookshop for Creatives, Collectors and Keiki Opens In Honolulu
All about that Bās.
What’s more tragic than a Shakespeare love story? The number of local bookstores we have in Honolulu. You can count them on one hand. Well, two now. Thanks to wife and husband, Aly Ishikuni-Sasaki and Travis Sasaki, the owners of recently opened Bās—it’s pronounced base and refers to the core part of something—Bookshop. “We founded the shop together with the belief that reading is fundamental,” shares Aly.
If you’re familiar with the design-lovin’ duo, you’re familiar with their wholehearted commitment to fill spaces (physically and metaphorically) in the local art community. Take Bās for instance. The shop, next to Roberta Oaks on Nu‘uanu Avenue, is home to literary works that are rich in fashion, architectural design, music, photography and other colorful topics that spark vision, imagination and excellence.
“For us, bringing back books from our travels is very normal,” Aly says. “We get to discover new publishers and writers that inspire and encourage our creativity. We always felt others should have the same opportunity.” So, even though businesses were going dark last year, when a spot opened up in Chinatown, they decided it was time to turn the page and give anxious minds something positive to focus on. “It was a risk opening during a pandemic,” Travis says, “but our block, with Roberta, EP Bar [coming soon] and Hound and Quail, is a getaway for people who want to shop, grab a book and coffee, and just relax.”
That does sound nice. And the shop itself is a little sunlit haven with natural light highlighting bright covers like Grace: The American Vogue Years, The Monocle Guide to Building Better Cities and Pools, by Lou Stoppard, among others. The décor alone reads museum-meets-Marie-Kondo. A wooden table centerpiece is anchored by short stacks of books, while quiet side tables and bookshelves hug walls. A couple of chairs sit by the window, offering visitors a place to relax while skimming through new titles. Locally made art pieces and wares from less-exposed brands, upcycled fashion from Cyc the Shop and lifestyle pottery pieces by Big Island ceramicist Claire Seastone, fill in blank spaces.
Later, the duo plans to turn the shop into a hub for film screenings, art workshops for keiki, pop-up installations and exhibits from local artists, photographers and fashion designers. They are also working on expanding their selection of written works from the Native Hawaiian community.
“Whether you’re a culture lover, young design professional, a kid who loves to draw, we hope you can find something here. And, although we do want a big home library, we’ll try to leave the books for our customers,” Aly says, laughing.
Lou Reed in Amsterdam, by Sebastian Vos Gijsbert Hanekroot
“A must-get for anyone who truly loves rock music! Lou Reed was an iconic singer, guitarist, and writer-composer of one of the most influential rock bands in music history, The Velvet Underground. This book features an extensive selection of rare photographs of Lou’s solo concerts in Amsterdam between 1972 and 1977.” $33
Yuul Yie: Sculpture Shoe Fantasy, by Sunyuul Yie
“South Korean designers are dominating the Western fashion world and Sunyuul Yie, founder of shoe line Yuul Yie, is one of them. This beautiful book showcases the shoe brand’s most celebrated, signature designs inspired by Sunyuul’s Korean heritage and love for modern art and architecture.” $70
Art, Inc., by Lisa Congdon and Meg Mateo Ilasco
“This is THE ultimate survival guide and handbook for anyone interested in pursuing an art career. Learn how to build your business and earn a living by doing what you love most. Art, Inc. covers all of the critical elements for starting a small business, from financial management, marketing, licensing, and more.” $18
Unimark, by Jan Conradi
“A detailed look into the work and process of design agency Unimark International. Active throughout the 1960s into the early 1970s, Unimark was responsible for the redesign of the New York City subway system’s [maps and signs] in 1966 and was one of the first design agencies in the U.S. to specify the typeface Helvetica for client work (much to the displeasure of the printers who did not have this typeface yet). This book is full of behind-the-scenes stories and insight into this innovative design agency’s work.” $54
The Touch, by Kinfolk, Norm Architects
“A great resource for a modern design approach to creating calm interiors with a rich materiality. Beautiful images with insightful commentary on designing with light, material, and space.” $60
Studio Job: Monkey Business, by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel
“Blurring the line between art and design, Studio Job highlights a crazy art duo and their brilliant, humorous and extraordinary views on this world. This book includes imagery of some of their celebrated designs, from sculpture work to furniture design to graphics.” $60