CANALIZE meets Makoto Tanijiri INTERVIEW
A self-proclaimed architect,
pushing the limits of industry
CANALIZE meets Makoto Tanijiri
SUPPOSE DESIGN OFFICE Representative
Born in Hiroshima, 1974. After graduating from the Anabuki Design College and working for Motokane Architects and then HAL Architects, he established SUPPOSE DESIGN OFFICE in 2000. Between himself and his co-representative Ai Yoshida, they've overseen work on easily over 100 residential developments, and created significant buzz in 2010 with projects such as their “Luceste: TOSHIBA LED LIGHTING” installations in Milano Salone and their interior design work on the Kiddy Shonan C/X Nursery School. Their repertoire spans a vast array of industries, from residential, to business spaces, venue configurations, landscaping, product, and art installations.
With two bases of operation, one in Tokyo and the other in Hiroshima, business is booming from within the country and without as they tackle projects ranging the spectrum from interior design, to residential areas, and to complexes. Mr. Tanijiri is also an associate professor of both the Anabuki Design College and Osaka University of Arts.
Cooperating as an architect with other occupations,
and what it means to engage with them
――Tell us, Mr. Tanijiri. While you appear to be an architect on paper, you frequently collaborate with other companies, appear in talk shows and even dabble in fields outside your own. Would you say these are essential qualities for the modern architect to have?
I wouldn’t say they’re essential; they’re just things I like doing. (Laughs.) But the reason I involve myself in so many different fields is because I don’t want to limit myself to just the singular definition of 殿rchitect. I suppose anyone else might look at me and say, 添ikes, he has a lot on his plate for an architect… . I guess if I wasn’t an architect― or if I neglected to mention I was one, anyway― it might be just as easy to see me as a jack of all trades. You see, by being an architect with many different perspectives I’m able to approach different situations from different angles and fine-tune my approach accordingly. That’s my justification for being this way. Maybe it would be better if I simply approached everything from the perspective of an architect and left it at that; after all, society seems to have this idea of an architect as some straight-laced, studious type. But at the same time, by adapting myself instead and making myself flexible and pliable and carrying different points of view, I can tear down that arbitrary ideal the world’s built up without even trying, really. That’s my ultimate goal. Basically, I’m no different from a ‘tsundere’ type, the kind that acts cold on the outside but is warm on the inside. I’m cursed with something of a bad personality myself, so that contrast really appeals to me. (Laughs.)
――You seem to be shouldering a lot of burden regarding your industry, for someone who says he’s doing it out of sheer satisfaction.
“Maybe so. But I think we need to foster an attitude that it’s okay to ask for more from architects, to be less anxious about consulting with our services in general. Making it less stressful for people to consult with us, asking more of us― that’s the key to making our industry more exciting not just for myself, but for other architects as well. I think my approach helps.”
――Would you say that’s the right direction for the industry to move?
“Well, we didn’t always have access to information like we do nowadays, so in the past consulting with a specialist was a basic necessity. That’s not to say we’re past the point of consulting with specialists nowadays, but customers are a lot more educated than they used to be. In fact, I’d say it’s perfectly okay for the customer to be more educated on things like materials and the most cutting-edge products than we specialists. That way, instead of arbitrating our ideas to the customer, we can take in their recommendations and assess them from the outside instead. What I mean is, we should be changing our angle of approach. I feel it’s important that we stop placing so much value in terms like ‘specialists’ and ‘amateurs,’ and start working as individuals on the same platform, creating something better together. Of course the question at the forefront of our mind is, ‘How can we benefit society?’, but I also believe it’s important to intersect that with the requests of the customer.”