LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Takanori Urata ("TU") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

TU : My father was a joiner, and he worked with wood at home, so I started making things for fun at an early age. I also really liked drawing. When I was in junior high school, I first decided that I wanted to be a designer, so I went to a high school specializing in design. After high school, I went on to study design at Kuwasawa Design School, a well-known design school in Japan. After that, I worked for a large company that mainly builds commercial facilities, and then I worked for Tokujin Yoshioka, a world-renowned designer, to study design. He has now left Tokujin Yoshioka's office to run his own design firm.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

TU : The joy of seeing something I envisioned become a reality, the communication that is created with various people before that thing is completed, and the joy that comes from knowing that the thing I designed will be used by others. I think that one of the things that I can do is to become a designer because I think that the joy of seeing something that I have designed become a reality, the communication that is created with various people before it is completed, and the new joy and communication that is created when people use what I have designed is one of the things that makes me happy. To be honest, I don't think you have to be a designer, but I became one by a series of coincidences.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

TU : I made my own choice when I was in junior high school.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

TU : I love to design anything, but if I had to choose one, I would say designing architecture is my favorite.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

TU : Am I a legendary designer? I am still developing. But if I were to give any advice to young designers, I would recommend that they experience a wide range of work and play, including unpleasant work, while they are young.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

TU : We believe that a good designer is one who can respond flexibly to the client's requirements. I think a great designer is flexible enough to respond to the client's needs, but also has originality that is unique to that designer.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

TU : Even if it looks simple at first glance, I think a long-life design that never gets old is great.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

TU : I want many people, companies, and countries to actively invest in design. Good design makes the world more peaceful.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

TU : I would design my own home. For me and my family.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

TU : I have many dreams, but first of all, my own home.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

TU : Simpler. More elegance.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

TU : My mentor, Tokujin Yoshioka's designs and his attitude towards design are very influential for me. Others include Sori Yanagi, Ingo Maurer, and architect Tadao Ando. There are many more.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

TU : I like the design of the window display with scarves at Hermes Ginza Tokyo, which was created by my mentor Tokujin Yoshioka. When the woman in the image on the screen blows her breath on the scarf, the scarf actually shakes as it is aerated. I was present at the completion of the display as the person in charge, and I still can't forget the emotion I felt.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

TU : The design of Tokyo Station in Japan, for example, is great. It is not so much the detailing of the architecture. I think it is the fact that it creates various encounters between people in and around the architecture itself that is great.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

TU : It is to have strong faith and perseverance to never give up on anything. I believe it is thanks to my parents' education. Parental education is very important.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

TU : It is difficult to imagine. I play drums as a hobby, so I would be a drummer. I like cars, so I would be a builder who restores classic cars.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

TU : Simple, elegant, quality design.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

TU : My wife, who is my greatest understanding. She understands that I am immersed in design.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

TU : My parents' upbringing gave me the mental strength to overcome problems.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

TU : Am I a master? I am still developing.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

TU : The metal cup that received the award this time is different. I think designers should present designs that solve the problems of today's society.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

TU : I am developing a new tent for my brand sunsetclimax. Please stay tuned.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

TU : My goal is to continue to be involved in design as long as I am able to move. There is no end in sight.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

TU : Am I high profile? I am still in the development stage, but if you commission me, I will go above and beyond what the owner envisions. I will realize the design beyond what the owner envisions.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

TU : Rather than directly addressing social and environmental issues or forcing them on people, I try to solve social and environmental problems without imposition by combining good design and social and environmental issues in a tasteful way. I believe that it is the responsibility of design to solve social and environmental problems without imposition.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

TU : In the field of architecture and interior design, we are developing new clients. For sunsetclimax, it is the development of new products.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

TU : My brand sunsetclimax is a brand that produces camping equipment, but I recognize it as one design project. I am still in the middle of it, but I am satisfied with it.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

TU : The Corona pandemic has changed things dramatically. I think the loss of interaction between people was very damaging. As in any industry, it is fundamental and important for people to meet face-to-face and communicate with each other. First of all, I would like to see the situation return to the way it was before the Corona pandemic.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

TU : I think the design field will merge with more environmentally friendly fields.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

TU : It varies quite a bit from project to project. It can take anywhere from a few days to up to several years.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

TU : I start by listening to the client's ideas. I do research, etc.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

TU : Never give up.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

TU : I would like to believe that design creates trends. Trends that are created end quickly, don't they?

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

TU : The role of technology is very important. The development of technology has always been a big part of design. Technologists and designers are destiny partners.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

TU : I use CAD, Rhinocerus, Illustrator, Photoshop, various cameras, and many others.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

TU : They are all equally important. They can vary in importance depending on the project. It is important to always design with them in mind.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

TU : Simply, what do you think? Do you like it? I would like to ask them.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

TU : A picture of myself using it and enjoying it.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

TU : For me, my wife is my ideal partner. I think co-design is a good idea, but you need a central person (designer) to set the basic policy.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

TU : My mentor, Tokujin Yoshioka.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

TU : Books by an American tent maker called Moss have had a great influence on the design of sunsetclimax products.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

TU : I have been involved in a wide range of design-based work since I was in my twenties. I think it is very important to experience even an unpleasant job just once. Many experiences form a person.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

TU : BILL MOSS, founder of the American tent manufacturer called Moss.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

TU : I am not famous at all. I will continue to work hard so that I can get a platinum award.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

TU : Color: red  Food: Soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles), Neapolitan pizza (I make it myself) Season: spring to early summer Thing: Car (I dream of driving a classic Alfa Romeo) Brand: Alfa Romeo

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

TU : About a previous project in which I designed the architectural interior of a dispensary that won the iF design award in Germany. We designed the pharmacy to be a beautiful space that would make people suffering from illnesses feel a little better. After the completion of the project, patients who visited the pharmacy told me with a smile, "It's a beautiful pharmacy. I was really glad that I was in the design business.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

TU : I try to exercise moderately every day. Just exercising is motivating, and great designs come from a healthy body.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

TU : I have said many times that I have not become a great designer at all. You just have to work hard every day.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

TU : I don't know, but I hope there will be no more wars.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

TU : We're up for the challenge, so stay tuned!

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

EMBRACING A THOROUGHLY MODERN DESIGN STYLE, TAKANORI URATA DESIGN INC. HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST IN-DEMAND DESIGN FIRMS IN THE REGION, CELEBRATED FOR AN ABILITY TO CREATE EXCEPTIONAL SPACES THAT ARE- IN EVERY WAY – UNIQUE. THOUGH TAKANORI WORKS PRIMARILY IN THE ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN SPHERES, HE HAS ALSO BUILT A REPUTATION ON THE BACK OF OTHER PURSUITS AND IN OTHER MARKETS, NAMELY, IN THE PACKAGE AND GRAPHIC DESIGN INDUSTRY. THROUGHOUT IT ALL, TAKANORI’S SIGNATURE REMAINS APPARENT: CRISP, CLEAN AND ELEGANT. THIS HAS DRIVEN TAKANORI URATA DESIGN TO THRIVE IN SECTORS THAT REQUIRE A CERTAIN SENSE OF MODERNITY, THINK MODERN CONDOMINIUMS, COSMETIC COMPANIES AND PHARMACEUTICAL CLIENTS. IN THOSE AREAS, TAKANORI HAS TRULY FLOURISHED, HARNESSING A SKILL FOR LARGE OPEN SPACES THAT REMAIN, AT THEIR CORE, ENTIRELY FUNCTIONAL. YET, THE ROOT OF TAKANORI URATA DESIGN’S SUCCESS LIES IN TAKANORI’S SKILL IN COMMUNICATION, AS HE EXPLAINS IN MORE DETAIL HERE. “I INTERVIEW MY CLIENTS FIRST AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. I PAY ATTENTION TO HOW MY WORK SATISFIES THEIR NEEDS. THEN I SUGGEST A DESIGN WHICH IS IMPROVED ON AND REFINE OVER TIME. I AIM TO ALWAYS EXCEED MY CLIENT’S EXPECTATIONS AND SURPRISE THEM. ONCE THEY DECIDE TO MOVE AHEAD WITH MY OFFICE, I PROVIDE SERVICES THAT MEET MY CLIENT’S NEEDS TO GAIN THEIR TRUST AND ESTABLISH A LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP.” THIS IS MADE ALL THE MORE IMPRESSIVE WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT TAKANORI URATA DESIGN IS A TWO-PERSON OPERATION. “THERE’S ONLY TWO PEOPLE, INCLUDING MYSELF. IT IS A SMALL OFFICE, BUT I ALWAYS TRY MY BEST FOR MY CLIENTS. I BELIEVE THAT MY BEST WILL BE EVALUATED AS SUCCESS, AND IT WILL LEAD TO THE NEXT OFFER OF WORK FROM MY CLIENTS.” IN A WAY THAT IS TO BE VERY MUCH EXPECTED FOR THE FIRM, TAKANORI PREFERS TO CARVE HIS OWN PATH IN THE SECTOR AND IGNORE THE TRANSIENT FASHIONS AND TRENDS THAT COME AND GO YEAR ON YEAR. “I DON’T MIND SO MUCH ABOUT TODAY’S TRENDS. I ALWAYS CONCENTRATE ON MY CLIENT’S NEEDS FIRST. THEN, I IMAGINE AND CREATE A DESIGN FOR THEM. I LOVE LONG-LIFE DESIGN WHICH IS SIMPLE, BUT NEVER FAILS TO BE INTERESTING. I AIM FOR TIMELESSNESS IN MY WORK AND GO FROM THERE.” FINALLY, TAKANORI OFFERS SOME INSIGHT INTO TAKANORI URATA DESIGN’S FUTURE. “I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN FUTURE. SO, I THINK I SHOULD TRY HARD TO MAKE MY DESIGN SKILL UP SO THAT I CAN MEET VARIETY NEEDS FROM CLIENTS.”


Sakura Cup

Sakura Cup by Takanori Urata


Lead Recycled Cork LED Lantern

Lead Recycled Cork LED Lantern by Takanori Urata


Metal Cup

Metal Cup by Takanori Urata

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