In its headquarters in Yokohama, just outside Tokyo, Aizawa Office overlooks a bay where time passes slowly, “thanks to a sea wind and the sounds of steam whistles from ships,” says Yukihiko Aizawa, art director and designer. He leads the design studio with his wife, project director China Nagata. With four staffers in Japan and two in Berlin, Aizawa Office fuses influences from the West and the East, including anime and traditional Japanese painting. Another influence: Aizawa studied economics in school, and today, he develops a strong sense of the business needs for each project before he starts designing. “We are not here to present what we believe is cool to clients—we get to know clients and listen to them. We want to know their history, background, character, wishes and needs.” Armed with this thoughtful approach, the studio creates everything from packaging for pastry shops to posters for museums to signage systems. Aizawa hopes to expand to the United States, Europe—and the rest of the world. “We want to connect to new cultures and new people through design.”
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