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Think and Dream New Ideas: Yukiko Nezu

Architect, Yukiko Nezu started her first design company called URBANBERRY DESIGN after her graduation. The name explains that small scale projects are like berries and that she puts seeds in urban contexts which will grow in the future. I would like to continue this design office for my art work besides the work for NEZU AYMO architects.

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As an architect I have to be responsible for many things from micro to macro. In the micro sense I have to be responsible for my office and employees’ and anything we design has to be safe. But also I would like to see my work in a bigger scale which affects a global sense with an ecological factor. Keeping a free mind is one of my disciplines. I would like to discover myself through the design process. Therefore sketching is a very important tool for me, to find out possibilities and to create exciting images. I love to draw lines and I know that almost 99 % of my sketches are not going to be shown in the public. But to sketch actually contains all my dreams and allows you to test visualization in two dimensions. I play to create my own utopia in this process.

I work in Amsterdam with my Danish colleague. Our office is called NEZU AYMO architects and is located in one of the main streets in Amsterdam between the central station and Dam square. Amsterdam is very different from Rotterdam which had the experience of tabula rasa and developed through modernism. Amsterdam is more relaxed and cozy with historical monuments. Everybody is using a bicycle to go to their office through canals. From my desk I can see the clock of the Beurs van Berlage. Our office is located on the 3rd floor which is quite unique in Amsterdam: to have an urban view in the center.

Potato-project: 2 x 2 meter of each drawing are for my POTATO ARCHITECTURE project, which describe my architectural concept with poems and sketches.

Taking the Step of Becoming an Architect

It took a long time deciding to become a professional architect. After studying architecture for 10 years, I have two master degrees, one in Japan, and one in the Netherlands. It took time to find out my own confidence of creativity in architecture. I wanted to enjoy my time through the work and had always doubted being an architect during my studies. But I decided to make a living out of architecture because I had studied the subject long enough. Another reason that made it difficult to fix my profession was the many activities I did after school when I was young. In the end I wanted to be an architect, a choreographer and also an astronomer. For me the similarities of those professions are about composition.

Exploring the Views of the World

Ajman: The competition winner project of Marina Development in Ajman. 240 apartments with 6 blocks, 1550 care parking, and 12.000m2 shopping mall.

In my experience I developed my communication skill a lot in Europe. I found wide possibilities through working in groups. In my Japanese education I had design assignments only for individual works. I had to have a strong personality to defend or sell my designs to my teachers. What I learned in Amsterdam was finding out consensus solutions. It might not become as strong as one direction but richer and more unique. It gives me also more variations and a wide view. So it helped a lot to experience various ways of working at different locations. I would say travelling. You must experience as much as possible from the world through people, manner, custom, food, materials, trend, tradition, etc., and digest it. It helps to develop a rich personality.

Creating Your Own Concept and Sticking to its Frames

I used to work at a communication company for a short period. It was nice to join a company which designed advertisements for booth buildings, films, graphics, etc. I designed the total concept for a booth building in a German trade fair which got a design prize in the Netherlands. After that, the client contacted me for three more years. It is very important to develop your own concept and to keep it within that frame through the design process. On the other hand the key point of the concept should appear in different projects as well, because that is exactly what I am interested in. You can be very lucky to meet the right person at the right moment to get involved in the project.

New Ideas and Stimulating Your Imagination

J-shop-project: Sketches are for a renovation of a Japanese shop called ‘t Japanse Winkeltje in Amsterdam.

I try to spend my time carefully. I continue to think and dream about a new idea in any situation. If it’s getting difficult to get an idea, I try to make myself believe in that there’s a good chance to get a great idea. I’m a very optimistic person in that sense. Sometimes it is difficult to find ideas from the daily routine. Then it is important to spend private time carefully. I believe I will always find a new idea. Another solution is brainstorming with my colleagues and friends. I can make my mind clear by talking. To meet and talk with people of different professions shows me a lot of new aspects. I am always curious about what the world is made of. My network is very important to see my position and vision. It gives my friends the same meaning. The energy towards their profession is a very beautiful thing to see. I could frequently find a link between the design language and any other kind of field. I like to translate that metaphor into my design language.

Zöllner 2004: Trade fair show booth design in Germany gotten IF gold prize. The walls are made by paper and small cuts paper makes soft sounds when you pass by.


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2 Comments


  1. Hallo,

    I think your creations ar Beatifull. My question is if you are also create solutions in concrete? I mean clip art concrete!

    Thank you.

    With Regards.

    Ditmar Wijsen

  2. Keat Tan says:

    Fantastic story of your journey through architecture. Architecture is indeed a very broad and interesting subject which require lots of passion and patience. One can never survive without the two of them.

    It is always great to hear about people enjoying the process of designing which is very time consuming and requires a lot of effort. But I believe that architecture is worth our effort and time. We must strive to produce more good design to make a better world!

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