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Keiji Ashizawa is an interior designer from Japan, born in 1973. He founded his eponymous Keiji Ashizawa Design studio in 2005. After graduating from the Department of Architecture and Building Science at Yokohama National University in 1996, Keiji began his career in architecture studios and improved his craft philosophy and skills by customizing furniture.
Yinji：Japan is a very beautiful country. Keiji Ashizawa has been established for15 years . What was your background when you founded Keiji Ashizawa? What was your vision for Keiji Ashizawa Design? Over the years, has your vision changed? The future direction of Keiji Ashizawa?
1. Background：It was totally a natural transition for me to establish my own company from being a member of super robot which is a steel workshop and I belonged for two years after working several years in an architectural studio, I started to have my own commission works little by little which made me push my back for my own studio.
2.Vision：Since establishment of the studio, we have been wanting to work across architecture, interior, and product design to have more holistic perspective for spaces we create.Also we believe working across the areas put us in a very unique position.
3.The future direction：I would like to keep this direction. Talking about product design, it’s been around 15 years since I started working and we recently became team of three specialized in product design. I am very excited how my studio would look like is in five years time.
Yinji：Your current team size? An excellent manager or an excellent designer, which one do you want to be more? Do you have any management and design experience you can pass on to young designers?
We are 13 - 10 architects, 2 product designers and a communicator. I would love to be an excellent designer rather than an excellent manager, however I strongly feel there are so many things to learn how to collaborate with my team and how to become a strong team.I think I have learned a lot from collaborators - architects such as Peter Statchbury, design studios like Atelier Oi, Norm Architects … I can say I can recommend that you should try to be surrounded by excellent people as we can always learn from others, especially from great people.
Yinji：How many projects does Keiji Ashizawa complete each year on average? What are the proportions of various types of projects (hotels/luxury houses/small commercial/public, etc.)? How long is the project cycle?
Overall(architecture/interior/collection of products) around 10 projects/ year 70-80% Architecture/interior: Hotels 30-40%, Houses/commercial 30-40% /20-30% product design. Project cycle is min half year up to more than three years depending on the scale and clients.
Yinji：" Honest design " Your very unique design proposition, can you interpret it for us? What do you think an honest design needs？
““Honest Design” is our faithful-interaction. Our perspective nestles close to not only individuals but also communities of people. Our works interpreter knowledge and values inherited from the past for modern society through choosing social-good methods and materials for environments and local society around people. Regarding designs as the accumulation of insights and good sense, we produce designs to succeed ones for future generation by pursuing activities in a wide range of fields, including architecture, interior, product design, projects starting up and design consulting.
Yinji：How do you see the relationship between material and design?
We believe that good design unleashes the best characteristics of materials through deep consideration of production process and interaction with products’ structures. We think we should focus not only on aesthetics but also usability of his design in living spaces. Derived from the interaction with every step and every material involved in the production process, designs reflect aspect of people’s lives. The strength and warmth are translated into succinctness and serene beauty to straighten up yourself and to make the space calm and relax.
Yinji：We have noticed that your website is divided into three sections: Architecture/Interior/Furniture. What is your current focus of work?
Yes, we focus in these three sections to have more holistic view for the spaces.We have been trying to expand each sections with great team mates, I believe we achieve to expand each sections with its own pace.
Yinji：Have you ever cooperated with Chinese owners? How do you see the current status of Chinese design? Do you have any suggestions?
Yes, I have cooperated with great Chinese owners who are generally very energetic. (which is great for architects/designers to work with!!) Been to China for work only these ten years, however everytime I go there, I feel there is a lot of changes. Especially product design became more powerful and broad during this period. It was a pity I couldn’t visit China last year due to Covid-19, but I am sure Chinese design has developed and I am looking forward to visiting soon.
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