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Designer Interview:Naoko Ogawa


It has always been important to me to get to know the individuals behind the products that we offer. Whether it's a simple tea towel, jewelry or our "go to" bag, these objects were created with countless hours of hard work from design to creation, collaborations, effort and a whole lot of love. And we truly appreciate not just the products, but the people that bring these products to life. It's been a long time coming and I'm excited to start the series of designer interviews with Japanese born Berlin based jewelry designer Naoko Ogawa. I love her innovative approach to jewelry design and minimalist elegant pieces that reflect her experiences in life.

 "Imperfect" Drawing Jewelry Collection
Black Triangle Pendant Necklace
What is your design approach or creative process from inspiration,design to creation for each collection?
I create jewelry with the concept that "jewelry cannot become complete unless people put it on".  In other words, only those who wear it are able to create a look or complete beauty. My creations of both jewelry "works" and "drawing" are based on this idea. I have a great interest in what happens to the body and how it affects the mind. I like to watch people and from these observations, I get many inspirations.

What are your current projects/exhibits?
My current project is "Jewelry Hunting". The concept and frame of the project is based on the idea of "accidental beauty", a form of prosaic jewelry stemming from aspects of daily life. I'm creating a website as a platform for this project where you'll see a Google map with some pins. If you click one pin, you can check some information about a jewelry that has been hunted or found there. You can pin on the map what you’ve discovered, and people can share it. This is my plan for the website, but the process of building the website is a lot more work than I expected. It will take a lot of time to realize.
{I can totally relate and understand what you mean about creating a website!}

How has your collections/designs changed or evolved from the early beginnings?
 At the beginning, I was just interested in the shape of human body. But in thinking about the function of jewelry, my interest and approach have moved towards the human mind, society, communication and the environment.

Running a business requires a lot of time and passion for what you do. On your down time, what are your other interests or activities that you enjoy?
 Not only as an artist, but also as a woman or a person who lives in this world, I deeply want to know the human mind. That's why I like to watch movies, read books and see people. When I'm tired of thinking about it, I cook. Cooking makes my mind calm down and fresh. 
Since you love to cook, what's your favorite meal or type of food to cook?
I like to improvise Japanese food with ingredients that are available in Berlin. For example, Turkish rice and miso-soup with Chinese hard tofu, pickled vegetables Japanese style-but they are pickled with some German bread and beer! I always get inspirations from my good friend Tomoko's catering "OKAWARI". She's a great cook! 
Any irks and quirks, you'd like to share?
Ha ha ha!! There are thousands of quirks, but I don't have enough space to mention each thing.
I don't know if it's a quirky thing or not, but I use "olive oil" for facial skin care. My skin is so sensitive and most skincare cosmetics don’t match my skin. I've finally noticed that just rubbing olive oil after washing my face is the best method for me. 

How does your hometown Berlin or Tokyo influence your design?
By creating and showcasing my works in both cities, I strongly believe that the existence of a common aesthetic can be shared beyond nationalities, cultures, languages and religions. It made me realize that the research of human behavior is important in the creation of my jewelry. 

It was such a pleasure to get to know Naoko... not just for her design philosophy, but also as a person who loves to cook and read while sharing her skin regimen. I also admire her exploration of the interplay between objects, people and the environment. And as she emphasizes, one doesn't exist separate from each other but is in constant interaction. So I hope you discover some lovely pieces that you will love, wear or use in your daily lives. 

I'm truly thankful to showcase the works of such talented and kind designers.  Stay tune for part II of her interview for Travel Tips for Berlin and even Japan! Thank you Naoko for graciously answering all my questions and being so patient. Arigato and Danke!

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