Interview with Daisuke Nagatomo

Winner of Furniture and Lighting Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Daisuke Nagatomo shares insights


Interview with Daisuke Nagatomo at Sunday 23rd of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
DN : I started learning architecture at Meiji University in Japan, and received my master degree in advanced architectural design from Columbia University.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
DN : In general I like to find a good solution toward some issues, it turns out to be my design. It is almost same in any scale of projects I have been working.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
DN : My interest started to focus on design aspect of architecture more and more towards end of my bachelor study.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
DN : My primary interest is building design, however, I also design different scales, such as interior, furniture, product and graphic.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
DN : I believe learning design is composed by multiple layers of different knowledge, not necessary come with their own talent. They should experience different culture and places to expand their capabilities as designer.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
DN : A great designer is probably also trying to re-define their own style of design, always trying something different to attract more people into what they do.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
DN : A really good design consists with many layer of thought from the designer, not only the form or shape, but all the details make it a good design.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
DN : The true value of good design is to make everyone happy and bring our society different level.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
DN : I like to spend some time thinking of some designs for my children, such as toys and furniture.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
DN : I like to work on large scale of public space project, and to see how large amount of people react to my design.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
DN : It is in my sketch books. Always try to sketch some new ideas.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
DN : There are many, Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames, Zaha Haddid, Naoto Fukasawa

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
DN : The chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, the most inspiring project I have ever seen.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
DN : Spiral Stool, this design is almost my final destination of cardboard design challenge.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
DN : Try to see rest of the world, and think what you can do to help them.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
DN : Maybe I could have become craft man.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
DN : Design is a visualisation of mathematic formula. Trying to find a way to solve certain questions

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
DN : My partner Minnie Jan

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
DN : Overcome the difficulties

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
DN : Probably the limitation of my imagination

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
DN : Designer should not overexpose themselves. Choose the right medium to present their work

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
DN : I am working on some kids furniture, as well as some time device, also some interior and building project.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
DN : Design more work to make more people feeling better

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
DN : To amaze more people and create social awareness toward design

DL: How does design help create a better society?
DN : Design always comes with care for the other people. If people always think about others, the society automatically heading toward better world.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
DN : I am working on different variation of Spiral Stool. It is exciting to think how to make this design attract more and more people.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
DN : Digital fabrication projects, thinking the design through computer screen and use CNC machines to actually fabricate in reality. This is such a thrilling process.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
DN : I think the fee system toward intellectual property is still way behind from any other filed's fee system. I hope it gets better in the future to provide better opportunities to designers.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
DN : We cannot ignore the advancement of technologies, especially digital information base. Probably our filed needs to transform based on what the new limitation of all other filed.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
DN : Depending on the projects, some take really short time such as a day, meanwhile, some projects needs more than a year.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
DN : Usually start with basic research of its function and some references.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
DN : Only functional is beautiful

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
DN : These two are inseparable relationship.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
DN : Sometimes thinking of what can technology do provides me better design solution.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
DN : I use Rhino3D for most of 3D modelling, while 2D drawings are depending on the usage, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and AutoCad.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
DN : Sometimes it is an accent to design, and sometimes it drives entire design.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
DN : Where they can find it.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
DN : If I were designing those, how would I proceed?

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
DN : Yes, I like to collaborate with other designs. It is alway challenging and exciting.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
DN : People from different field. Philosopher, historian, socialist, and among all others.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
DN : Frei Otto's finding form.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
DN : Hand sketch, computer modelling and visualisation.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
DN : Rem Koolhaas from OMA, Ben van Berkel from UN Studio

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
DN : Winning awards alway helps to establish recognition, however I am trying to it is just a result of what I have done. So that I will continue designing.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
DN : I like quiet beach with clean air and nice wind.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
DN : I need to think about it

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
DN : When I see people are happy to see my design.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
DN : Not really.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
DN : That is very challenging question.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
DN : Please find more information from