Kei Kitayama

Professional in Interior Design.

About Kei Kitayama

Kitayama k architects is Melbourne based practice focuses on architecture, interior design and furniture design. Their design is simple, but carefully responding to the surrounding environment. By responding to the site context as a result, each design response is unique to the specific site and client. Their simple design approach extends into the interior design. Attention to the details makes their interior space elegant, and their selection of materials provides warmth in the space. Joyful spatial experience for end users is important components of their design philosophy.

  • Winner of Interior Design Award.
  • Specialized in Interior Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Interior
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Hunters Roots Cafe

Interior Design

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Interview with Kei Kitayama

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I grew up in Osaka, Japan, where I could visit gardens, temples and other buildings easily. Visiting those architecture and gardens in young age influenced my interests. Also having my parents working in design / building industry helped me developing my interests in architecture.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
kitayama k architects is a young architecture and interior design practice based in Melbourne. Our design concept is simple, but we also focus to create warm and comfort space for the users. Our design also respect the natural environment, which is unique for each site and each project, to provide unique design solution.
What is "design" for you?
Design is a tool for me to create a space / object that help other enjoy / feel comfortable.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Church of the light designed by Tadao Ando. It is very simple concrete box, but the light coming into the space throught the slot window create spiritual and inspirational space.
When do you feel the most creative?
When I finally find a good design solution to a challenging design task. It is more so if I have gone through many schemes before reaching that final solution.
What makes a design successful?
A design gets refined and become successful when communication between the designer and the users are well established.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
A designer is responsible to respect and understand the existing society and environment before he/ she proposes any design solution to fit into the provided site. By doing so, the existing cultural reference may be retained in the same or modified manner.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
The source of design inspiration differs each project. In most cases, the inspiration is from the existing site conditions and adding past experiences. Past experiences varies from my childhood in Japan to visiting some buildings.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
My design style is close to purelist or minimalism. One of my mentor taught me that a process to produce a good design is to add lots of good ideas at the beginning and then refine the design by get rid of unnecessary parts. This advice still remains as my approach to the design process.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Australia, and my cultural background heavily affect the way I design. Having different cultural background makes me able to mix two cultural references and introduce into a design.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
One of the positive is that we can see in real life what we have designed. Also we can develop our senses so that we can appreciate good design / products / objects.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
In early stage of the design, the tools that I use are pen, paper, cardboard and glue. Once the design is developed, computer software such as auto-cad, rhino, photoshop and indesign are used.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
A residential alteration and addition project in Australia. The extension is hidden behind the existing heritage house so that it won’t affect the existing streetscape. The extension is very simple rectangular form, but space within the rectangular concrete box will be interesting by use of void, connecting bridge and level changes. It is currently under the council planning department review and awaiting for their approval.

Extended Interview with Kei Kitayama

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I grew up in Osaka Japan with both my parents involved in design and architecture. My parents took me to many places including gardens and temples in Kyoto and Nara area. This childhood experience has formed my interests in design and refined my design pallet.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
What motivate me the most is to see the expression of the clients or the end users.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
My current design projects are small scale residential, interior for hospitality (restaurants, café and bar) and furniture design. The aim is to increase the scale of the projects to small to medium.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
I am still young design myself, and I am following the advice that was written by one of my favourite architect. He recommended young architects to go out and talk to other industry people and read books that are not architecture related to broaden the knowledge.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A good design is timeless. It is a great piece of design not only when it is produced, but also after many years since it has been produced.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Church of Light designed by Tadao Ando. I like the simple yet rich and amazing internal experience created by the natural light coming through the slot windows.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
I travelled around in India for couple of months 20 years ago or so. I believe that sketching different buildings / scenery, and seeing different culture during this period improved myself as a designer.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
Maybe a chef so that I can still create / produce to entertain other people.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is something that could make our life rich and entertaining.
How do you think designers should present their work?
Whatever the method that is used to present the idea, it is important that the presentation is made easy to understand for the client / user. As long as it is clear and easy to understand, it is not really a matter whether it is using technology or hand drawn sketches.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I have been working on a residential alteration and addition project in Australia. I am trying to create a simple exterior with rich / interesting space within.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
Ultimate goal is to keep working as a designer till end of my life.
How does design help create a better society?
Architecture is somewhere people spend most of their time for sleeping, working, eating etc, and it has a big impact on development of people’s emotion and feeling. Architecture may only be a small component to assist better society, but it can definitely assist.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
The process always starts with meeting clients and visiting the site. The site condition and personality of the clients have a large impact on the design.
What is the role of technology when you design?
My design process is still manual. Technology is utilised for the presentation and the documentation stages.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
Pen, paper, cardboard, glue during design stage; Rhino, 3D Max and photoshop for presentation; auto CAD for documentation.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
Tadao Ando’s books and Taro Okamoto’s ‘Have poison in you’
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
Design is my interests, and it can motivate myself when I sit down and start working on.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
No. I didn’t do well in art subjects when I was in primary school.

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