Asked what design means to him, he’d answer “Choosing a gift for someone you love.” You want to give them something you think is good, but also factoring in their own tastes and preferences. That’s why it’s important to talk with people, listen well, and use your imagination.
Yugo likes people. As a college student in Kyoto, he was more interested in his part-time work at a jazz bar than studying design. The bar was an older, smoke-filled space and he got interested in the conversation of the men and women who gathered there.
“When I saw couples expressing their love, I thought that I would like to create spaces that would become part of people’s memories, and maybe even change their sense of value.”
After graduating, he studied abroad in the United Kingdom, and relearned design all over again. There the old churches, banks and buildings along with a timeless atmosphere had a somewhat similar feel to Kyoto. Temples and shrines have always been among his favorites and he feels that universal proportions should be protected. But in his own designs, he manages to incorporate avant-garde elements into orthodox designs as his way of incorporating his own innovations.
Knowing the world has become his creative advantage. By interacting with clients throughout the world, in London, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Viet Nam, and Hong Kong, he became adept at using different possibilities and could quickly and accurately understand what was demanded.
Being a Japanese person abroad adds value. Many clients are looking for delicacy, gracefulness, and a unique sense of beauty. But working only in Japan makes it difficult to recognize these advantages. Yugo recognizes this and sees his own role also includes encouraging colleagues to better know themselves.
Someday, he wants to work on an overseas project that fully emphasizes Japanese design such as achieving the traditional Japanese qualities of delicacy and gracefulness in a five-star-class hotel. Just thinking about that makes him excited.