Top Interior Designers Japan: fall in love with and get inspired by these designers from the country of the Rising Sun.
Aoyama Nomura Design (A.N.D.)
Aoyama Nomura Design (A.N.D.) it’s a magnificent, high-end interior, architectural and product design company of Nomura Co. Ltd. This design firm is recognized as one of Japan’s most incredible and innovative group of designers, constructors and operators. Led by creative director Ryu Kosaka, this company contains a team of experts and a large amount of award-winning interiors for commercial, hotel, office, restaurant, retail, exhibition, and residential projects in Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Their design identity is focused on innovation, creativity and uniqueness, through the faithful reflection of the client’s vision.
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The architect established Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1963, after the allied occupation when Japan had regained its sovereignty and was seeking physical rebuilding amidst political, economic and cultural uncertainty from the decimation of WWII. He has won the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize in a ceremony at the Château de Versailles in France thanks to his transnational and fearlessly futurist approach to design. With more than 100 projects, Isozaki is the 49th architect and eight Japanese architects to receive the honour. “The City” in the Air, in the Shinjuku neighbourhood in Tokyo, Japan, is one of his renowned projects in the urbanism industry.
The Kitagawara Thermal Architecture Research Institute was founded in 1980 by Kitakawahara Thermal and reorganized into a corporation in 1982 and began full-scale design work. His link with nature is ever enduring, as one can deduce by his magnificent work with the Japan Pavilion at the Milan International Exposition in 2015, Shibuya’s cinema building Rise, completed in 1986. Another work by Atsushi that caught the eye, not only for its similarity with the post-modernist ventures of his contemporaries but also for its somewhat alien geometric shapes (which in itself is another trademark of this transhumanistic post-modern take on architecture), is the Hotel Keyforest Hokuto. The grey, bland, and angular shape of this structure juxtaposes in just the right way the brown, green, yellow, blue and red of the surrounding forest paradise. The architect also envisioned some conceptual furniture designs, some of which are pieces that could very well come from an imaginative fantasy world of the highest order, a treat to both the eye & heart, proving that the creative landscape of his mind is quite eclectic.
Based in Kyoto, Fhams is an incredible design team that has worked on a wide range of project types and scales such as interior design, hotels and retail shops. The design company founded by Ryotaro Ando in 2000, proposes designs by considering various aspects, both contextual conditions, and legal conditions, context, climate, and concerns. From the first planning stage, the FHAMS design team proposes designs that combine both contextual conditions and legal conditions, such as programs, context, climate and environment. The FHAMS design team strive to pursue the finest quality and the most exclusive designs.
Gwenael Nicolas – Curiosity
CURIOSITY is a multidisciplinary studio based in Tokyo, created by French designer Gwenael Nicolas. From bespoke interior design projects to architecture and product design, the studio is constantly redefining the boundary of design, not in an abstract way. They collaborate with a large spectrum of companies and clients, to create new products, develop new materials and define new design identities. From the Versace flagship store in Florence and the Dolce & Gabbana space in the Miami Design District to the boutique Ashida Midosuji and the Fendi Avenue Montaigne (Paris), Gwenael Nicolas studio’s features a with a range of bespoke design projects spread across the world! Each project design is like a perfume with the first, the second and the third note. At first, the design seems cool and abstract, but when you interact with it, “surprise” something unexpected happens, a smile appears on your lips and finally the more you use it the more you feel attached to it.
Ranging from private restaurants, offices, retail and commercial spaces, to hospitality, restaurants, cafes, clinics and banquets, the Hashimoto Yukio has a very diverse project portfolio. His philosophy focuses on designing ambience instead of the material, that allows him to create timeless and harmonious yet quite minimalistic interiors, where the finest details are brought to our attention by a subtle play of light. Hashimoto has won many prizes, including the Na-shop Lighting Contest Award (Excellence Prize), the JCD Award (Excellence Prize), and the IIDA Award for Excellence. He is currently a Lecturer at Showa Women’s University and Aichi University of the Arts. He is also the author of LED to magewappa: shinkasuru dentō dezain (Rikuyo-Sha Publishing).
Interior Designer and Representative director of Casappo & Associates, Kanji Ueki was born in Tokyo in 1945. After graduating from Keio University in Tokyo, Ueki went to Italy where he worked at RINASCENTE Department Design section in Milan. In 1971 he started working for Aldo Jacober Architect Studio in Milan, but in 1975 he moved to his homeland and established the top design office Casappo & Associates in Tokyo. His remarkably simple yet striking design style transcends the Asian minimalist vibe most clients search for. From all the accolades the designer has won over the years, the highlight the 2003 Industrial Design Excellence Award for his work on an Apple Store.
Koichi Futatsumata was born in Kagoshima, Japan. After graduating from the Department of Engineering and Architecture at Kyushu Industrial University, Futatsumata set up design unit “CASE-REAL” and started his incredible professional career as an interior designer. Thanks to his amazing design solutions in the areas of space, architecture and furniture, Futatsumata has exhibited his work at various exhibitions domestically and internationally. In 2013, Futatsumata set up “KOICHI FUTATSUMATA STUDIO” where he developed his product design practice further. Representative architectural works include: “Restaurant on the sea (Teshima, Kagawa), a house in Tsurumaki (Tokyo), Tsumons (Fukuoka), White Dormitory for Il Vento (Kagawa), Joyce TLG (Hong Kong), Suzukake Honten (Fukuoka).
Naoko Takenouchi completed a four-year degree course in design and glassblowing at Tama Art University in Tokyo, while taking time to attend the New York Experimental Glass Workshop. Her work experience continued at the Swedish Center Foundation and in the New-Small & Sterling Glass Studio in Vancouver. Takenouchi was previously a restaurant designer in Tokyo and has now partnered up with Britain’s Marc Webb to form the integrated design firm- Takenouchi Webb. Bringing a fusion style to Japanese interior design, his projects are a wonderful mix of western styles, texture and the Japanese design fundamentals such as minimalism.
Born in 1977 in Toronto, Canada, Oki Sato studied architecture at Waseda University in Tokyo. He obtained his Master’s degree in 2002 and in the same year, the designer decided to create his incredible Tokyo based-design studio, called Nendo studio. Now he has taken up the international stage, with offices in Tokyo and Milan. Nendo, meaning ‘modelling clay’, expresses his desire of having certain flexibility and the ability to reinvent oneself. The designer takes his inspiration from Japanese uncluttered style to create a language of his time. The philosophy of Oki Sato is reflected in his designs, thanks to which he transforms the interactions of people with the objects surrounding them by creating a parenthesis in their life. This desire is found in the uncluttered and characteristic shapes of his designs, to which he always adds a touch of humour and conviviality.
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At the office, Ryoji Iedokoro constantly strives to help people realize the importance of architecture through his unique and innovative designs. By combining everyday objects and new approaches the studio takes the spaces central to our day to day lives to a completely new level. Iedokoro believes that architecture is a critical part of every society and community since it can shape our perceptions and has the power to enrich every human life. Committed to achieve excellence, their amazing design projects portfolio was based on the engagement relationship with their clients, giving them the opportunity to meet and discuss everything about their goals in terms of design. Ryoji Iedokoro has won an honourable mention from the Architecture Masterprize 2018 in the categories of Architectural Design, Residential Architecture, Interior Design and Commercial Interior.
Also known as the Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates. this multiple award-winning architectural firms is based in Tokyo, Japan. It was founded in 1995 by architects Kazuyo Sejima (1956–) and Ryue Nishizawa (1966–), who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2010. Notable works include the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio; the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; the Rolex Learning Center at the EPFL in Lausanne; the Serpentine Pavilion in London; the Christian Dior Building in Omotesandō, Tokyo; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa; and the Louvre-Lens Museum in France.
Born in Osaka, Japan in 1944, Shigemasa Noi is engaged in store design, exhibition design and display design, since 1965. The renowned designer has worked for Interna kagaya, Interior Design Office Nob, and Xebec and he established Shigemasa Noi design office in 1982. Today, he is known for developing various creative works focusing on the design of store, furniture and products. They believe that thinking in simple terms about how to transform the client’s wishes into a functional, three-dimensional space brings warmth to the final product.
Born on August 5 in 1957, Shigeru Ban is a Japanese architect, known for his innovative work with paper, particularly recycled cardboard tubes used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims. He was profiled by Time magazine in their projection of 21st-century innovators in the field of architecture and design. The renowned architect has won several design awards since 1985, such as the Display of the Year, Japan, “Emilio Ambasz” Exhibition (1986), the Mainichi Design Prize (1995), the Akademie der Kunste (Berlin Art Award), Germany (2000), the Grand Prize of AIJ 2009: Nicolas G. Hayek Center (2009), the 2017 AIA Awards – Architecture. Aspen Art Museum (2017) and the Japan Wood Design Award 2018, Mt Fuji World Heritage Centre (2018). One of Ban’s latest architectural projects is the Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport in the city of Makinohara, where the Japanese architect designed the extension and renovation of the existing terminal building.
Shinchiro Ogata is a well-known Japanese architect recognized for his take on and supervision of diverse architecture, interior, product and graphic design projects. After creating his interior design company SIMPLICITY in 1998, Ogata’s professional career led him to win awards such as the Grand Prize and the Gold Medal at the Design for Asia Awards in 2009. What defines SIMPLICITY’s design style (and Ogata’s, for that matter) is the fact that it has a style with the aim of inheriting the tradition and keeping it alive by constantly innovating and adapting it to the present era. Like many Japanese organizations, this interior design company aims to create the culture of the next generation through the careful crafting of items for a quality contemporary lifestyle.
One of the most celebrated and significant designers, we could not leave him off the list. Kuramata’s futuristic and practical designs to this day are showcased in New York’s MoMA and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. Creating both beautiful spaces and furniture pieces, his work can be described as a fusion between oriental design and Occidental styles. Kuramata’s works are imbued with traces of the old story of the Western fascination of Japanese decorative arts and crafts over a hundred years ago, and later in the 20th century the early modernist hunger for Japanese simplicity and structural purity that strongly influenced the functionalistic dogma “form follows function”.
Steve Leach Group moved beyond just being the most established Interior Design Consultancy firm in East Asia and increased their service offering with new expertise areas and partnerships to provide you with holistic answers. As a team, they create award-winning projects in interior, architectural and sustainable design that provide a fresh approach to each challenge. They have been distinguished with several design awards throughout the years, such as the Top 10 2017 Architects in Thailand, the Excellence Award For Hotel Category in 2016, The Gold Prize of Corporate Category in 2016 and The Honorable Award for Hotel Category in 2016.
Tadao Ando is a self-taught architect whose approach to architecture and landscape was categorized by architectural historian Francesco Dal Co as “critical regionalism”. He was raised in Japan and this country really shaped his style as an architect and designer through religion and other cultural aspects. Ando’s architectural style is said to create a “haiku” effect, emphasizing nothingness and empty space to represent the beauty of simplicity. He favours designing complex spatial circulation while maintaining the appearance of simplicity. As a self-taught architect, Tadao keeps his Japanese culture and language in mind while he travels around Europe for research. As an architect, he believes that architecture can change society, that “to change the dwelling is to change the city and to reform society”. “Reform society” could be a promotion of a place or a change of the identity of that place. According to Werner Blaser, “Good buildings by Tadao Ando create a memorable identity and therefore publicity, which in turn attracts the public and promotes market penetration”.
Born in 1967, the renowned designer worked under Shiro Kuramata and Issey Miyake and established his own studio, TOKUJIN YOSHIOKA INC. in 2000. Active in the fields of design, architecture and contemporary art, Tokujin Yoshioka is highly acclaimed globally with works themed in nature, which also reflect the Japanese idea of beauty. By giving figure to various human senses using materialistic elements such as light, Tokujin Yoshioka creates expressions that are unique and surpassing the concept of shape. He has designed for Issey Miyake and other global companies such as Cartier, Swarovski, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Toyota, and Lexus, and has been announcing new works at Salone del Mobile Milano (world’s largest international furniture exhibition) in collaboration with Italian furniture brands, including Kartell, Moroso, Glas Italia and Driade. The designer has won many international awards, including Design Miami Designer of the Year, presented to a designer who has made the most significant contribution to design globally, ELLE DECO International Design Awards Designer of the Year and Milano Design Award.
Born on the 1st of June in 1941, Toyo Ito is a Japanese architect known for creating conceptual architecture, in which he seeks to simultaneously express the physical and virtual worlds. He is a leading exponent of architecture that addresses the contemporary notion of a “simulated” city, and has been called “one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects.” After being a front-runner for the Pritzker Prize for 10 years, Ito was awarded the Pritzker Prize, one of architecture’s most prestigious prizes in 2013. Besides creating inspiring architecture projects, the renowned Japanese architect has also published several architecture books since 1991, such as “Architectural Monograph No. 41 Toyo Ito” in 1995, “TOYO ITO | GENERATIVE ORDER” in 2008 and “Adventuring Architecture” in 2017.
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