Älska the Wanderlust

by Julius Kensan
27th August 2014
With wares sourced from countries like Nepal and Mongolia, Älska exudes a distinct “faraway” charm that soothes the wanderlust soul.

Älska sounds like an elegant psychic with a discernible ability to read into your future, but in actuality, it is a small gift store located in Cipete Raya Street. Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean Älska is without a charm of its own: it is impossible to ignore this shop once you have noticed it.

Started by the famed Indonesian Photographer, Nicoline Patricia Malina, Älska is not just your ordinary gift shop. All of the wares in Älska are personally handpicked, sourced and curated by Nicoline from overseas countries, such as Shanghai, Japan, Nepal and Mongolia. As such, expect various “mementos” that comes in different forms – precious ceramic houseware, beaded accessories and exotic tapestries.

But the fun of Älska lies in the fact that you never quite know which of them is for sale. They are arranged in such a way that it felt as if one is visiting the living room of a wanderlust host. To wit, some of the displays on the wall are for sale, while some displayed on the racks are not. So being inquisitive is an important trait when you’re in Älska.

Apart from products sourced by Nicoline herself, the charming shop is also home to various local labels as well. One of them, Vaxa stocks various adorable cacti and terrariums, which blend in marvelously with the aesthetic of the shop. Apart from Vaxa, visitors can also look forward to labels such as Amaya, Ayang Cempaka and Lets Live by the Sea.

It’s hard to ignore the faint feeling that all these goods are somehow imbued with magical properties. Of course, they don’t. But, given the calming and spiritual atmosphere in Älska, it’s easy to be convinced that fate may be at work when one lays their eyes on a certain ware and simply just can’t take their eyes off it.