interview with jo nagasaka / schemata architects studio visit interview with jo nagasaka / schemata architects studio visit
dec 21, 2015

interview with jo nagasaka / schemata architects studio visit


interview with jo nagasaka / schemata architects studio visit
image © designboom

 

 

 

schemata architects is a tokyo-based design studio, whose work spans the fields of architecture, interiors, and industrial design. the practice was founded in 1998 by japanese architect jo nagasaka after he completed his studies at tokyo university of the arts. since then, schemata has gone on to complete a range projects across the globe, from retail interiors in their native japan, to furniture collections and collaborations with household names. on a recent trip to tokyo, designboom met up with jo nagasaka who spoke with us about his work, and showed us around the firm’s new studio. see designboom’s visit to schemata’s previous work space here.

schemata architects jo nagasaka interview studio visit tokyo designboom
the studio is an engaging space full maquettes, models, and drawings
image © designboom

 

 

 

designboom: what originally made you want to become an architect?

 

jo nagasaka: I had many friends who were artists, musicians and actors, and I used to think about designing spaces to represent them. I wanted to study more so I decided to go to university, and I tried for the architecture department. after beginning to study architecture, I found it so interesting that I began to have an interest in becoming an architect.

schemata architects jo nagasaka interview studio visit tokyo designboom
model making is still a very important part of schemata’s process
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: who has been the biggest influence on your work, and which of your projects has been most important to you?

 

JN: tom heneghan, my professor, used to see my projects during my second grade of university (at tokyo university of the arts). his way of thinking for different contexts helped me to fully understand architecture. the ‘sayama flat‘ project, (the renovation of an apartment in tokyo) has had the biggest impact on my career.

schemata architects jo nagasaka interview studio visit tokyo designboom
jo nagasaka explains some of his recent projects
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: overall, what is your biggest strength and how have you developed that skill over time?

 

JN: my biggest strength is that I can work across different genres, from design to architecture. I was working for a long time before the ‘sayama flat’ project, and during this period I worked on many types of job. I think those experiences made this my strength.

schemata architects jo nagasaka interview studio visit tokyo designboom
‘udukuri’ is table designed for established & sons coated with a bright red epoxy resin
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: outside of architecture, what are you currently interested in and how is it influencing your design work?

 

JN: traveling. touching all sorts of different cultural values helps me create more varied ideas. in terms of architects or designers working today, I like lacaton & vassal.

schemata architects jo nagasaka interview studio visit tokyo designboom
the table forms part of a private meeting room within schemata’s studio
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: can you tell us about any projects you are working on that you are especially excited about?

 

JN: currently I am planning three hotels. I have always wanted to design hotels, so I am enjoying doing that.

schemata architects jo nagasaka interview studio visit tokyo designboom
a selection of chairs within the work space
image © designboom

 

 

 

DB: what is the best advice you have received, and what advice would you give to young architects and designers?

 

JN: while renovating our previous studio we tried to paint the floor, walls, and ceiling white. mr. aoyama of meguro gallery, who we were sharing the space with, asked me: ‘why are you painting everything white?’ obviously white is not neutral, but I thought that it was. purity is the space without any modifications. this understanding helped me in planing the ‘sayama flat’ project.

schemata-architects-sayama-flat-designboom
‘sayama flat’, one of schemata’s most important projects / image by takumi ota
see more of the project on designboom here

 

 

 

DB: what is your personal motto?

 

JN: nothing special!

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