Amsterdam – Jo Nagasaka’s new book is all about storytelling: within its pages, readers will discover the words of the designer himself outlining his processes and inspiration in a series of personal essays and a chronological timeline of creative projects. The investigations of his studio Schemata Architects to seek modern solutions and pioneering re-purposing techniques sees the designer transforming interiors and breathing life back into objects, often opting to 'design by subtraction', expressed by reduction and simplification. Here, he caught up with Frame to offer further insight.
How did your new book come about?
Jo Nagasaka: We published two other books in 2016 but, since they were both small-sized, they focused on texts rather than showing many images. This time, we started out from the idea of making a monograph featuring large photos of our works, beginning with our early small-scale projects – starting from Sayama Flat – all the way through to this day. I think it turned out to be a good overview of our studio’s evolution so far. The scale of our works is expanding all the time, and we anticipate larger-scale projects being completed in the next year.
Have your working methods changed over the years?
Our way of working changes each time we relocate our office to a new place. Most of the projects featured in the book were created when we were based in our previous office in Happa. At that time, our focus was a hands-on approach and I think this attitude was strongly reflected in our work. Now, at our present office in Aoyama, we are working as a larger team at a much faster pace, and I expect our work will continue to change along with our work style now and in the future. I hope in the book to communicate with readers the creative energy of our hands-on approach during our days at Happa, as well as more diverse and dynamic directions we are taking now.
You have been identified by Frame as one of twenty creative who are ‘defining tomorrow’. How will your approach to design continue in the future?
I hope to find a new stance and gain new perspectives by changing environments around me and also the way our office operates. Still, my approach to the 'renewal of knowledge' will stay the same. I am looking forward to encountering and knowing something new on the horizon.