As someone who loves design – from graphic and industrial, to fashion and architecture, my absolute favourite is interior.
It was when my partner and I were in Tokyo, at Yakumo Saryo doing a lovely tea ceremony, that I was more focused on the design of the kitchen than the actual tea. When the lady asked if we wanted to sit to face out the window, I politely declined and was more than happy to face the kitchen.
With a concrete structure that formed sinks and walls, mid-century style cabinets and shelves held together with copper piping (that actually ended up being a tap) and a minimal but warming decor, I was obsessed. So much so, I went and looked up the designer as soon as I left. To my surprise, Shinichiro Ogata was more than just that smooth, curved concrete basin.
After being inspired by Western Design, Ogata travelled the world to be around it. Although, it was not long after he realised that the Japanese had actually continually influenced Western culture and art, so Ogata came home in 1998 and founded the design studio Simplicity.
"The culture of Japan is indispensable in a world seeking balance between mankind and nature. I continually strive to express this in my own way, through food, tableware and space. It is also what lies at the core of Simplicity and its activities today."
Developing his own establishments, including the Japanese dining club and tea house Yakumo Saryo, the Japanese restaurant HIGASHI-YAMA Tokyo, and the Japanese confectionery brand HIGASHIYA, are only a small portion of his extensive resume. Ogata has also designed five Aesop stores throughout Japan, along with hotels, bars, restaurants and products.
After doing a little bit of homework on Mr. Ogata, his design style becomes quite clear. Elegant and timeless, minimal yet warm. Each place he has used his creative brain and hands on has the "Simplicity" stamp. I even noticed that a couple of places I saw in Tokyo and snapped a picture of turned out to be his.
Learn more about Simplicity and Shinichiro Ogata here