Illinois Institute of Technology Bachelor of Architecture
Employed by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
When did you first become interested in design?
I was surrounded by art as a child. My grandparents were art collectors, and the house was full of works of art. Thinking about it now, that had a major influence on me. Also, since I was born in Japan but raised in America, I had contact with both Japanese and Western design, and I was very interested in what it was that separated the two.
I was inspired to study architecture in college because of how interesting my computer-aided design (CAD) class was in high school. My father used CAD as an engineer, and since I wanted to try a different career I started studying architectural design because it was another field that used CAD. Later, as I learned about architecture I found some architects that I liked.
What has changed since before you tried to make a living on design?
While I had longed to create works of architecture like those of my favorite architects, after I started working I realized that the times had changed, and today tangibles are less important than intangibles. Particularly for offices, it is essential to incorporate good ideas. You can’t build an office based solely on structural ideas. It’s interesting the way we can think about how people will move around the completed workplace, how it will be used, and people’s working styles.
Is there anything different you’ve noticed about DE-SIGN INC.?
The process through deciding on the course of action for an initial proposal moves very fast. Since the pace of designing each initial piece is faster for interiors than for buildings themselves, I think one needs to think fast too. In architecture it takes five to six years to understand a single process in its entirety, so usually it took a long time to become a true professional. I think my current environment is well suited to somebody like me who wants to amass various experiences quickly. I also found it very interesting the way systems are in place to help understand the revenues and expenditures on a single project, for example by openly sharing information on the funds, personnel, and time needed for each project.
What are some of your specialties?
First, of all, I can use both Japanese and English. A recent client told me, “Your English is so good.”
I thought it was strange because both are native languages for me (laughs).
Also, I am good at finding logical solutions that balance various factors well, by using architectural ways of thinking. I think I am able to come up with convincing solutions by thinking about the same problem from various perspectives and working out logical answers.
What kinds of things would you like to work on in the future?
I think always about how I would like to build something new, incorporating changes never seen before. Basically I want to make the world a better place by building places that will have a major impact on those who use them and, in a broader sense, society at large.
To do so, I think there is a need to create designs that will improve inefficiencies, effecting small changes that impact the project as a whole.
For this reason, I am interested in Tokyo’s high population density, and separately from my work in the company I am trying to think of ideas for putting space to more efficient use with my friends.


Building something as ordered will not necessarily mean its objectives are achieved.

In my work, instead of simply following clients’ orders exactly as presented I try to think about why they arrived at the decision of placing the order the way they did. It’s not clear that simply building something as ordered will mean its objectives are achieved. By trying to appreciate the other’s circumstances more deeply, one can understand their order at a deeper level. I want to create something brand new by changing it in my own ways.