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:
"His energy is incredible"
"It was like Hara had this museum collection of objects in his office. You felt that everything in there was very considered."
"He walks around and directs everyone. He doesn't have a desk"
"His work is so clean, his space so chaotic"
"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."
"You can tell that Sato deals a lot with the press. He is very well prepared."
"I'd never been to a tea ceremony before. Mori gave me a quick introduction, which made me appreciate the deep rituals in Japan."
"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."
"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."
"Such an unassuming space for such a prolific artist, until you knew where to look"