Tell us what is new with Hinako.
What’s new is that I now call New York home. I relocated here two years ago after spending nine years as a set designer in one of Tokyo’s leading TV stations. It has been very exciting to be able to bring my experience in the entertainment industry to the interior design field. For the past few months I’ve been working at nemaworkshop and our team was recently invited by Renaissance Hotels to participate in a design challenge. Our design proposal was presented at BDNY (Boutique Design trade fair) along with proposals from other prominent architecture and design firms. The new programs of the Renaissance brand are highly innovative and allowed us to be very creative. One of our groundbreaking ideas was the design of their concierge desk or a so-called discovery table. The table allows the guest to interact with the navigator (the concierge) and serves as an icebreaker between the guest and the hotel. The design included a massive marble table with overhead projection activated by the guests.
How did you find inspiration for this new project?
As a studio we paid close attention to the brand’s identity and to their core values which are discovery and play. Our design process started with story-telling by making study models. They helped rev up our inspiration and guaranteed that the final design would be meaningful.
What character traits helped you attain your success in Interior Design?
I believe that my strengths lay in my creative work. I have never been good at entertaining a crowd, but I strive to deliver designs that speak for themselves and are exceeding people’s expectations.
I’m also lucky to have experience working in creative fields on two continents - Asia and America where I have been exposed to different work practices that are culturally diverse but invaluable and enriching. An important thing that I have learned is also how to manage tight deadlines and budgets which key for our industry.
How do you keep up with new trends, materials, practices, software? Are there any that you would like to share?
I am lucky to be surrounded by designers from various fields such as architecture, fashion and jewelry design. And it is usually my extensive network of friends who help keep me up to speed with new trends.
Should one ever say NO to a job?
I don’t believe so. I look at job opportunities as means to broaden my horizons and knowledge. The learning process is a work in process and I think that it is always worth approaching a challenge with a positive attitude.
How has being an ASID member helped you?
Since I became an ASID member, I have been able to extend my network and keep in touch with important mentors and figures in our field. The various ASID events and talks have facilitated my adaptation to the NYC design world and have made me feel more at ease in our design community. The connections and friendships that I have made have made my transition from Tokyo to New York smoother.
What would you be, if you weren't a designer?
When I was younger I was thinking of becoming an art teacher. Both of my parents are teachers and it seemed natural to follow in their footsteps until I realized I didn't like teaching. Now, I am very happy with what I have chosen as a career path.
To see more examples of Hinako’s work, visit here: http://hinakonakagawa.com