In many cases, the natural world represents a combination of aesthetic mastery and engineering prowess that greatly outdoes almost any technological or artistic endeavor undertaken by our particular strain of hominoids. In fact, nature’s design so greatly outstrips the competition, that, as Jean-Michelle—the owner of nātür—points out, we frequently adopt its principles in order to further our own technologies: “I've always been fascinated by the fact that we are always learning from nature—whether it's learning how to make better solar panels by studying wasps… [or] learning about fiber optics and architecture by studying a glass sea sponge.” This same fascination with and appreciation of the natural world is precisely what lead Jean-Michelle and his wife Clara to open Natur—a shop specializing in beautifully posed and artfully articulated specimens from across the animal kingdom.
For Jean-Michelle, nature has always been alluring in its complexity. His passion started with insects—beetles, specifically—and throughout the years has expanded to encompass all corners of the natural world. Yet, it was not until the pair decided to move on from their longstanding custom furniture business that Jean-Michelle was able to bring his passion for pinning bugs and collecting specimens to the masses. Despite Clara’s initial skepticism about opening a small store that sold framed insects, nātür opened in May of 2013, and, much like the species in which it specializes, has substantially evolved since. Shortly after opening, Jean-Michelle decided that nātür should encompass the entirety of the natural world and, consequently, the store’s product line has since expanded beyond just insects to include a large variety of skulls, skeletons, minerals, wet specimens, fossils, sea life, and jewelry.
At its core, the ethos behind nātür is one of substantial appreciation and intense fascination. The store is meant to be a celebration of nature’s most ingenious nuances and, for Jean-Michelle and Clara, sharing this beauty and creativity with their customers remains one of the most profoundly rewarding parts of their retail journey thus far. You’d be hard-pressed to find a friendlier, more knowledgeable couple of shop keepers. Consequently, whether you’re in search of a special species of butterfly, looking to geek out over a particularly cheeky adaptation, or simply seeking an intro to the world of entomology, Jean-Michelle and Clara are more than happy to oblige. And, beyond the extensive list of services and specimens, it’s this exact mix of hospitality and expertise that makes frequenting nātür so rewarding.
nātür | 92 W Center St, Midvale