Name: Toru Nanataki/Hitomi Hasegawa

Company: ISHII ARCHITECT OFFICEIshii Architect Office

Position within company: Toru/ Assistant Manager

                                            Hitomi/ Assistant Manager


Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

After quitting the bank, i started studying interior design, architecture, and landscaping. Joined Ishii Architect Firm, driven by the interested in the relationships between Japan’s unique space of comfort and its topography and history. i was involved in multiple projects related to Japanese resort hotels. Moreover, I was hooked on local hot springs and often forgot about design problems by dipping into the water(Toru Nanataki).

After a graduation from an art university,  I was driven by a deep appreciation for Japanese culture and joined Ishii Architecture Firm — a firm that engages in designing inns based upon Japanese architectural methods. I was engaged in designing numerous Japanese resort hotels. Whilst working at the firm, I studied design and obtained a LONDON DESIGN SCHOOL Diploma. I have being a member of the British Interior Institute Design since 2015 (Hitomi Hasegawa).

 How would you describe your personal interior design style?

It aspires to create spaces that emphasise the strengths of the local land, by taking into consideration the material aspects of the area and its culture and history. Moreover, it holds the value of harmoniously blending in modern design trends with essential and permanent values; an approach that pays homage to the principle of fluidity and immutability that is taught in haiku.

 Where does your design inspiration come from?

 A poignant sense of space that can be felt by the virtue of the structure standing upon that very land and place.

 In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

I believe there are two ongoing trends in the world of design: one that pursues the essential qualities of design work and the other that emphasises creating picturesque spaces which appear good on online mediums. I also feel that philosophical ideas will become more relevant to design; especially against the backdrop of the continuing debates regarding the relationship of human beings with artificial intelligence that brings into question our very nature, reason for existence and tastes.

 Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2019 and beyond.

Curation, sustainable, symbiosis, Japan, space.

 If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?

Do not deny the previous design at the time of the new design proposal.

 How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

The importance of the awards lies in a contribution architects and designers can make towards harmony with local ambience. Good design and architecture attract more tourists and create new encounters of people there.

We hope that Cafe and Bar 334 will go global by the International Hotel and Property Awards and attract more nature lovers from all over the world. In addition, the highly acclaimed design would make Shiretoko better known and make a considerable contribution to the local community.

 What projects are you currently working on?

Renewal of government-related hotel located in all over Japan ・ Ryokan in Japan, hotel, overseas bathing facilities, accommodation facility

 What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

It is our wish that the number of Japanese hotels (ryo-kans) going out of business (which currently stands at 9/10) will become 0 in 10 year’s time by spreading our design philosophies and management schemes that we have implemented so far in other facilities, including hotels.


Your favourite holiday destination?

Onsen and sento tour. In Tokyo there are 600 bathing houses. Japan-wide, there are 3,000 hot spring locations and nearly 40,000 on-sen resorts. I would say: people from around the world, please do stop in Japan to have a dip in our on-sens.(Toru Nanataki)

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?

Kandalama Hotel in Sri Lanka, designed by Geoffrey Bawa. This is the hotel that taught me what a resort was all about (Hitomi Hasegawa)

Ishii Architect Office