Study Series

長坂 常「いちいちゼロから思考のススメ」


Interview with Jo Nagasaka

#02 突然の仕事も乗ってみる


── 海外のクライアントのプロジェクトも多く手掛けておられますが、依頼はどのような経緯が多いですか?

長坂 事務所への最初の問い合わせは、だいたいホームページからですね。

12年ほど前、〈Sayama flat〉が完成したときに、「このプロジェクトは日本で発表しても、あまり日の目を見ないな」と感じたんですよね。
何を思ったのか、「海外のほうが響くかな」って。それで、海外のアワードでちょうどローコスト的なテーマのものがあって、出したら2位になったんです(註:Bauhaus Award 2008)。

みんな、勇気がありますよね(笑)。だって〈Sayama flat〉ですよ?

それから後に設計した〈ブルーボトルコーヒー 清澄白河ロースタリー&カフェ〉も、最初は僕はぜんぜんわからなくて。飲食はやったことがないから、どうしようかと。

The opportunity to communicate to the world

─ You have been working on many projects for overseas clients.

Nagasaka: The first contact with our office is usually through our website.
Even from abroad, they contact us directly by email. It’s strange, isn’t it, because we only receive one email.

About 12 years ago, when <Sayama flat> was completed, I felt that this project wouldn’t see much light in Japan, even if presented here.
I don’t know what I was thinking, but I thought, “Will this project resonates better overseas? So I submitted a piece with a low-cost theme to an overseas award, and it won second place (note: Bauhaus Award 2008).

After that, people like ‘domus’ started approaching me.
I thought, “It’s interesting that if I look out, there are people with all kinds of different values. I could hardly speak English, though.
Something about us touched their sensitivity, and they contacted us.
They’re all courageous (laughs). Because it’s “Sanayama flat”!

Later I designed <Blue Bottle Coffee Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Roastery & Cafe>, but at first, I had no idea what to do with it. I had never created a restaurant or cafe before, so I wondered what I should do.
But a staff member at the time asked me if we could go to America. So I said, “Well, let’s give it a try then.
I found out later that it’s a famous coffee shop (laughs). So that’s how it went.

〈Sayama Flat〉Photograph: Takumi Ota
〈Blue Bottle Coffee Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Rostery & Cafe〉Photograph: Takumi Ota


── 当時の事務所のスタッフは何人くらいでしたか?

長坂 5人くらいです。同じころ、Vitraのスタンド(註:2015年4月に開催されたミラノサローネの展示スペース〈Vitra exhibition〉)も設計しました。


彼らはフランクにやってきたんですけど、名刺に「Vitra CEO」と書いてある。なんだかいろいろ話しているなと思ったら、帰り際に「実は今年のミラノなんだけど」って。
1月ですよ。展示まであと2、3カ月で何をするんだ!? と。もっと早く話してよ、と(笑)。


今はさすがに自分たちの本も出て、ある程度僕らのつくるものを見越してきている感じがしますし、「〈Blue Bottle Coffee〉を見て」という人も多くて、意表をつく感じではなくなっていますね。

Enjoy the unexpected developments

─ How many staff members were working in your office at the time?

Nagasaka: There were about five. Around the same time, we also designed the Vitra stand (note: the Milano Salone exhibition space in April 2015, the <Vitra exhibition>).

The CEO of Vitra, who had just been replaced, wanted to do something different, so he rented the most significant space and approached us.
At first, it was just an email, like three lines, “I’m going to Japan, can I come to visit you?”

There was nothing in that email about work, but I said, “Sure.”
They came to visit me frankly, but on their business card, they wrote “Vitra CEO.” I thought they were talking about a lot of things, and as she was leaving, she said, “Actually, I’m in Milan this year.
It’s January. I thought, “What am I going to do with a few months left until the exhibition? They should have told me about it earlier” (laughs).

Then we built a particular office in the office, and the Swiss people came over and worked with us on the design, and it was all done at once. I was impressed by the excellence of the Swiss people.
It was swift and exciting.

Now we have our book coming out, and I feel like people are starting to anticipate what we’re going to make, and a lot of people say they saw <Blue Bottle Coffee>, so it’s not as if we’re catching them by surprise anymore.

〈Vitra exhibition 2015〉Photograph: courtesy of Vitra
〈Vitra exhibition 2015〉会場にて Provided by Schemata Architects


── 海外からは、スキーマはどのようにみられているのでしょうか?

長坂 海外の人はウチの事務所がつくるものに対して、「未完成な感じ」とか「ネイキッドな感じ」というふうに表現します。



#03 デザイン言語でコンセプトを共有 に続く)

Perspectives we notice from overseas evaluations

─ What is the general view of the schema?

Nagasaka: People overseas describe the work we make as “unfinished” or “naked.”
When we see or hear such interpretations, we say, “That’s a good point!” Sometimes I feel like I’m at the mercy of them (laughs).

They’re probably not very happy when I tell them that “my stance is this, and this is how I’m thinking about this project.”
They are highly capable of organizing and thinking for themselves, so I guess it’s a way of saying, “We know what you’re doing.

They seem to see us as “interesting” in our decisions.
They seem to find it interesting to think about why we do this instead of this or why we use this or that material and the accumulation of each of these factors.

When I’m invited to give lectures, I’m often asked about these things. From their point of view, our case study seems to be a leap forward.
Unfortunately, that’s not my intention (laughs). I don’t think it’s quite the same as a series of ideas and forms, or a logical one.
(Continued on #03 Sharing Concepts in Design Language)

移転前の表参道のオフィスにて | At the Omotesando office before the relocation Photographs: toha