Interview With Reiko Kimura From Japan

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Reiko Kimura

Reiko Kimura is an exemplary designer with many of her designs in GARDE put on display at home and in China!

Interview with the 2022 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Reiko Kimura

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I started as a quantity surveyor in a small firm in the Tuscan countryside, before graduating as an Architect at the University of Florence. After that I moved to Japan, a country that always intrigued me for its peculiar contrasts between new and old, tradition and technology, and that represented to me the opportunity to work for my actual design firm, GARDE.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

During middle school, we were tasked to draw a piece of furniture, and that experience made me understand that the design exercise that lets imagination become reality is a powerful tool I didn't want to deprive myself of.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

I worked as a designer from the beginning, starting from department store public spaces and F&B, moving on to residential and hospitality design, and lately, I've been focusing on office spaces. I take part in all the phases of the project, from the interviews with the users to the conceptual phase, drawing production, presentations to the client, and construction/VE coordination, site supervision.

I always try to develop and tackle projects on different scales and with different complexities.

Each project is a mission to be completed with the utmost professionalism and innovation by exploring new concepts, materials and technologies.

My team is made up of young designers of various nationalities which allows me to extend and improve my projects.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design is a tool to make the world a more interesting place.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

Minimalist and sleek design. I come from architecture and I believe in the "form follows function" principle.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A durable design that never gets old is what we should aim for.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

It is made to match the client's needs, and usually, I draw inspiration from the environment and the history of a certain place.

8Tell us about your design process.

I draw inspiration from the environment and the history of a certain place and try to reimagine it under a new key that's unique.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

The classic proportions and symmetry principles are a characteristic of Italian/European architecture that I always try to bring with me.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2022 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

It is a powerful achievement that makes me proud of the work done and urges me to do even better to keep the level high.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The project is a hotel that implements and valorizes the existence of a valuable piece of history in Kyoto, represented by a typical Machiya townhouse from more than 100 years ago. I thought that the uniqueness of this mix between traditional and new is what Japan represents to me indeed, that's why I decided to enter this project.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

We strived to achieve a design that could mix well with the traditional architecture of the Machiya and at the same time impress the visitor with its elegant modernity.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Actually, it is the first time...but what I can say is that it's a big motivation to always do better and produce designs that will last long.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

The power of making your fantasies come true, the moral obligation of knowing societal issues that is necessary to make a good design, and knowing that your work has a terrific impact on people's lives.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

I come from Italy and we are well known in many design fields, from fashion to industrial design and architecture, I think that being right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and having been influenced by many cultures, from the Latins to the Greeks and Middle Eastern countries has always provided us a great environment to trigger new ideas.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Hopefully, to a more sustainable way of designing, that considers the durability of designs and avoids green washing strategies.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Don't do design to get awards or recognition, do design to improve spaces and environments, and awards will come as a "collateral effect".

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Keep up to date with recent works without forgetting classic designs and architectures, and draw inspiration from experienced designers, try to understand the functions and proportions of their designs in order to develop your own design language.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My family has always inspired me, and always encouraged to do what I was pursuing.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Dedication, not giving up is key.

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Reiko Kimura

Reiko Kimura is an exemplary designer with many of her designs in GARDE put on display at home and in China!

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