Tokyo Designers Week interviews:
Nigel Coates

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Tokyo Designers Week 09: architect and designer Nigel Coates describes the "complete chaos" of Tokyo in this final installment in our series of short interviews commissioned for the Tokyo Desigers Week official guide, which was produced by Dezeen.

Nigel Coates - My work has a baroque sensuality and a feeling of movement.

“I find products which foreground their greenness inherently boring. It should be part of the small print and something consumers expect. As architects, we have to take account of things like energy issues and thermal losses. These are part of what make buildings liveable in. I think more and more designers are taking that as a requirement; simply a given in the way that they work.

At the moment, I’m working on several architectural projects, as well as products for Italian names like Alessi and outdoor furniture companies. There are two extremes to my work. One is derived from the curvaceous forms of the human body. The other has narrative, and a Baroque sensuality and feeling of movement. I’ve also just opened my first London studio and showroom. But it was Tokyo that first discovered me and turned me from an academic into a real architect and furniture designer.

My first project was the Metropole restaurant. With Sy Chen of CIA Inc, we created three buildings and over twenty interiors in less than a decade. People in Tokyo have an amazing inventiveness, quirkiness and lack of fear. Unlike in European cities, they’re unconstrained by conformity – the need for a city to have a unified look. In fact, it’s complete chaos and that’s what I find so exciting. People live their lives like that too. You can be a punk in the morning, a rocker in the evening and get married the next day! It fitted all my tenets of what a city should be.”

Nigel Coates is an architect and product designer, based in London.

Photography by Phil Fisk
Art direction by Micha Weidmann
Interview by Malaika Byng

This interview is taken from the official Tokyo Designers Week guide, produced by Dezeen and art directed by Micha Weidmann.

More interviews in this series:

Gwenael Nicolas
Jaime Hayón
Tokujin Yoshioka
Max lamb
Tom Dixon
Arik Levy
Ilse Crawford
Matthew Hilton
Shigeru Ban

See all our stories about Tokyo Designers Week in our special category.