mira nakashima yarnall interview
mira nakashima yarnall interview mira nakashima yarnall interview
jul 23, 2002

mira nakashima yarnall interview

mira nakashima yarnall



left: george and mira nakashima courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall


right: george and mira nakashima outside of workshop, 1982 courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall



mira nakashima-yarnall answered the designboom questions on july 23, 2002.



what is the best moment of the day?

when I take my swim at the end of the work day, floating on my back and looking up at the sky and trees.



what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?

I listen to classical and folk music. my favorite instruments are guitar, flute and piano, as I play them myself. my favorite composer has always been j.s. bach, but I also love vivaldi, mozart, and beethoven. I find very powerful the east iIndian vocal chants with tabla and tambour.



left: george nakashima courtesy mira nakashima yarnall


right: mira in the nakashima memorial room at the james a. michener art museum, designed 1993. ‘keisho michener claro’ walnut burl coffee table in foreground. courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall



do you listen to the radio?

I listen to the classical stations only usually in the car, and am so fussy about what is played that I often turn it off in favor of my own tapes.



what books do you have on your bedside table?

sacred contracts, by carolyn myss and casa barragan by yutaka saito. I wish I had more time to read.



world peace table, 1986 by george nakashima courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall



do you read design magazines?

not very often, unless there are articles about nakashima featured.



where do you get news from?

the newspapers, occasionally radio and television.



do you notice how people are dressing? do you have any preferences? yes. simple, with style.



what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?

uncomfortable, unflattering. I am fond of east indian garb, and japanese textiles.



walnut spindle-back armless lounge chair (cushions are missing) and ottoman, 1960 by george nakashima



do you have any pets?

not at the moment. when my children were young, we had a cat, a dog, two rabbits, a family of gerbils, and goldfish. as a child, I only had goldfish.



when you were a child, what did you want to be?

someone with a great future.



your father was propelled by a religious fervor,


please tell us more about it and about your own devotion.

my father considered himself a citizen of the world and did not believe in religious sectarianism. although I play guitar and flute at a roman catholic church once a week, it is my morning meditation which quiets my soul and centers me, releasing creative energy as a prayer throughout the day.



‘keisho bryfogle’ dining table, in walnut, 1998. ‘keisho” means ‘continuation’ in japanese and refers to the newer designs created by mira since george’s death in 1990. courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall



who would you like to design something for?

my children and grandchildren.



do you discuss or exchange ideas with other creatives?

unfortunately, no. my father’s good friends included ben shahn, harry bertoia, and william a. smith, with whom he exchanged ideas and insights. since my oldest son satoru has come into the business, he has become my chief advisor and critic. most the artists I know are older, in different fields, and are mentors more than friends.



describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.

a continuation and development of my father’s work. more angles and curves have complicated construction somewhat, but I still listen to the voice of the wood itself. I am perhaps more tolerant of client input than my father was, but I have not been able to push the limits of solid wood technology further than he did.



‘keisho simon’ coffee table, figured bubinga and cherry, designed 1992. (‘keisho’ / newer design created by mira nakashima-yarnall), courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall



please tell us more about the community you live and work in.

most people here, like me, are involved in their owns lives and work, and not very interactive.



which of your work has given you the most satisfaction?

my children.



is there any designer and/or architect, you appreciate a lot?

my father, junzo yoshimura, and mario salvadori



left: outdoor bench ‘keisho chanoyu’, in ipe, 1999. (‘keisho’ / newer design created by mira nakashima-yarnall), courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall


right: ‘keisho arboretum’ bench for out-of-doors, in ipe, designed 1998. (‘keisho’ / newer design created by mira nakashima-yarnall), courtesy mira nakashima-yarnall



and those still active, are there any particular ones you appreciate?

michael gabellini, yutaka saito, and william mcdonough



any advice for the young?

tend your soul, mind the environment.



what are you afraid of regarding the future ?

destruction of the natural environment and basic human values.

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