Photographer Paul Barbera captures the studios of Tadao Ando and more

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Tadao Ando

Paul Barbera photographs the studios of Tadao Ando, Kenya Hara and more

The studios of 32 Japanese architects, designers and artists from Tadao Ando to Kenya HaraToyo Ito and Nendo feature in this photo series by Paul Barbera.

The New York-based photographer has compiled the images in Where They Create, Japan a book exploring the growing international interest in Japanese design and work culture.

The images reveal that Tadao Ando's self-designed studio in Osaka is lined with walls of books, while Kenya Hara has a museum-like office. It also features the meticulous workspace Nendo has created in a Kenzo Tange-designed building. Toyo Ito's surprisingly messy studio – a stark contract to the clean lines and form of his work – is also included.

"Japanese creatives and designers have long captured international audiences and is gaining new momentum especially in fashion design, architecture and the arts," Barbera explains in the book's preface. "Thus it only felt natural to make it the focus of this book."

"Travelling to Japan is like travelling to the future or another planet, distinct from its Asian neighbours yet also strangely familiar," he continued.

The photographer and his collaborator Kanae Hasegawa spent two months touring the country, visiting studios and interviewing leading figures in the creative industry about their working process.

Barbera's only request to his subjects was that their studios be naturally lit and left unaltered.

Read on for Barbera's comments on 10 of the studios featured:


Tadao Ando's studio

Tadao Ando

"His energy is incredible"


Kenya Hara

Kenya Hara

"It was like Hara had this museum collection of objects in his office. You felt that everything in there was very considered."


Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto

"He walks around and directs everyone. He doesn't have a desk"


Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

"His work is so clean, his space so chaotic"


Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma

"Kuma invited me to sit down for a coffee. I told him that to help me with the project, I started to read about Shinto. He expressed that it is a very difficult concept to grasp."


Nendo's office

Nendo

"You can tell that Sato deals a lot with the press. He is very well prepared."


Moriko Mori's studio

Mariko Mora

"I'd never been to a tea ceremony before. Mori gave me a quick introduction, which made me appreciate the deep rituals in Japan."


Schemata Architects

Schemata Architects

"Two of the other studios in the book are designed by Schemata Architects. So many creatives know each other or have each other's book in their libraries."


Torafu Architects

Torafu Architects

"When the tsunami hit, these guys went into the village to teach the people how to make furniture so the villagers could earn money, giving their own designs away."


Tokujin Yoshioka

Tokujin Yoshioka

"Such an unassuming space for such a prolific artist, until you knew where to look"