jun aoki interview
jun aoki interview jun aoki interview
apr 01, 2009

jun aoki interview

jun aokiportrait © designboom


designboom met jun aoki in milan, italy on march 11th, 2009.


what is the best moment of the day?the early morning. I like to see the sunrise.

what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?really all kinds of music, but right now I am listening more to jazz. there is a very new type of jazz here in japan –an example is naruyoshi kikuchi, he is one of my favorite artists. his music is very progressive and contemporary. when he performs alone or in a group the music is always different as the bpm (beats per minute) are edited / altered.


sia aoyama building, shibuya-ku, tokyo, japan, 2008photo © daici anocourtesy jun aoki & associatessee more images here


do you listen to the radio?I have no radio.

what books do you have on your bedside table? a traditional japanese book with stories and pictures of ghosts.phantoms. ghosts haunt in various spaces, … I mean, even though they are invisible they are living deep within our spirit.

do you read design / architecture / fashion magazines?I don’t read any magazines or newspapers nor watch television – no leisure (laughs).


white chape’, osaka, japan, 2006image © daici anocourtesy jun aoki & associatessee more images here


where do you get news from?I don’t keep up with the news. any news.

creative input and tracking?mostly I get this kind of news through the internet and of course I know designboom, actually I read it quite regularly.


aomori museum of art, japan, 2006image © daici anocourtesy jun aoki & associates


aomori museum of art, japan, 2006image © daici anocourtesy jun aoki & associates


I assume you notice how women dress.do you have any preferences?I like women to wear loose clothing – more relaxed clothes.

what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing? I don’t wear suit jackets at all. I like to find clothes that are unusual.for example this I think is very interesting (laughs and points to his polka dot shirt).


louis vuitton ginza namiki, tokyo, japan, 2004image © daici anocourtesy jun aoki & associates


do you have any pets?I’ve never had a pet at all… from childhood.

when you were a child, did you want to become an architect ? no, it was only in highschool that I had the idea of becoming an architect. I also wanted to be a film director or an author. I don’t know why but now I’m an architect.in my childhood I didn’t know much about architecture, I used to enjoy drawing and painting so I guess it was a good path to follow.


louis vuitton new york, usa, 2004courtesy jun aoki & associates


where do you work on your designs and projects? everyday I walk to work through a park on my wayto the office. its a very pleasant moment for me and this is the place where I get most of my good ideas.

do you discuss your work with other architects?I have a very private view of my things.


right: louis vuitton omotesando, tokyo, japan, 2002courtesy jun aoki & associatesleft: louis vuitton omotesando, interior, tokyo, japan, 2002image © daici anocourtesy jun aoki & associates


louis vuitton omotesando, tokyo, japan, 2002courtesy jun aoki & associates


describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.I try to redefine ‘structure versus finish’.I like using ordinary things, very common materialsand give them a new aspect. the sheer quality of thematerial and their building structure, some kind of repetition, pattern, …all that create a sense of the ornamental that is unstable and visually less distinct.

you designed louis vuitton stores…from their shape these stores are not so special as they are only a ‘box’. I just added layers, depth.I used glass with partions and walls with partions and combined the two to produce a new, amazing effect. for example the woven steel mesh with its shiny surfaces creates a veiled transparency.details exist because function comes first.


louis vuitton nagoya, tokyo, japan, 1999image © nakagawa nobuakicourtesy jun aoki & associates


please describe an evolution in your work, from your first projects to the present day.every time I start from scratch and so it’s a repetition of restarts. each time, when for instance, I design a small private house I make over 200 models which are very different from each other. there are many trials that I go through to develop the final design. more and more I conduct experiments, because I think architecture should not take ‘content’ as a basis for its ground rules. so I start with a hypothesis and then it must be carried into action. I call it ‘genetic rule overdrive’. it is a sort of methodology of sorts – let the rules take off on their own and leave everything on auto-pilot.

did it happen that you modify your buildings during development because the client wanted something different?yes, sometimes I change my ideas, but not very often.of course minor modification is very usual.in architecture we design something for somebody else, not for our own satisfaction. I think I should satisfy the client but at the same time create some kind of new object that is autonomous. it is a balance.


house k, 2001image © nakagawa nobuakicourtesy jun aoki & associates


house k, 2001image © nakagawa nobuakicourtesy jun aoki & associates


what project has given you the most satisfaction?I like many of the projects I’ve designed but the aomori museum of fine art, in my eyes is my finest result. the project took 7 years from scratch to completition. I had a lot of ideas to realize in the project which were complicated to fit in, but in the end the process and the result were most satisfying.

who would you like to design something for?I would like to continue to design buildings related to art, galleries or museums. also a private house for an art collector.


house c, japan, 2000image © daici anocourtesy jun aoki & associates


is there any designer and/or architect from the past, you appreciate a lot?le corbusier is my favorite.whenever I look at his projects, I always find something new and good.


mamihara bridge, 1995image © shinkenchiku – shacourtesy jun aoki & associates


and those still working / contemporary? I like so many…frank gehry, rem koolhaas and so on.


right: house b, japan, 1999image © shinkenchiku – shacourtesy jun aoki & associatesleft: house h, japan, 1994image © shinkenchiku – shacourtesy jun aoki & associates


what advice would you give to the young?I’d recommend to do what you want to do. when I was a university student I liked to study and design architecture but I also enjoyed going to the cinema. I think I watched about 300 films a year and this was very important to me, because now when I design something I remember some scenes in movies and ‘use’ them in my work.

what are you afraid of regarding the future? I’m afraid of the speed and that the world is changing. I live in japan and every year I feel that the speed is getting faster and it is an endless acceleration.


  • i dont get to see the full article, and i´d like to know more about this architect so i would be pleased if you could upload it full

    Paula Gonzalez says:

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