Exploring shapes, colors, and materials to evoke feelings and experiences

Takeda Katsuya effortlessly harmonizes the essence of Japanese heritage with the spirit of Milanese innovation within his designs. During our coversation, he illuminated how cultural crossovers play a pivotal role in defining the design identity of his studio.

Hailing from Kumamoto, Japan, Takeda Katsuya made a transformative move to Italy in 1998. He is the mind behind his eponymous design studio, based in Milan, where his creative endeavors span the realms of architecture, interior design, and product design.

In our interview, we embark on a journey through his life path and delve into Takeda’s distinctive philosophy, epitomized by the concept of “Design Atmosphere.” As he articulates it, this philosophical approach serves as the cornerstone of his work, breathing a unique mood and identity into each project.

Takeda Katsuya potrait _ Takeda Katsuya Design
Takeda Katsuya, Founder of Takeda Katsuya Design studio

One standout example of his design is the Geshary Coffee project in Tokyo, where Takeda masterfully immerses visitors in a sensory coffee journey. His selection of materials mirrors the intricate coffee production process, creating a truly immersive experience. Furthermore, Takeda’s expertise in retail design proves to be a strategic asset for several renowned brands, where he adeptly demonstrates his adaptability.

In this creative process, he deftly blends cultural influences, seamlessly harmonizing the rich tapestry of Japanese heritage with the innovative spirit of Milan. We asked him some questions to get to know him better.

Who is Takeda Katsuya? Can you share your background story and what inspired you to enter the field of design?

Takeda Katsuya:

“I was born in Kumamoto, Japan, and now I work and live in Milan where I founded my interior design studio in 2014. After technical high school in Japan and a 7-year experience in a Japanese company specialised in the design of prefabricated houses, I moved to Italy in 1998, to the Tuscan capital where I studied architecture at Florence University.

Office & Showroom _ Takeda Katsuya Design (2)
Takeda Katsuya Design office in Milan, Via Del Torchio 5/7

I then worked in Milan for a Japanese company specialising in project management in the fashion industry, where I acquired important management experience for Gucci, getting closer to the world of retail. I developed a specialization in the luxury retail sector and worked for Dolce & Gabbana and Ermanno Scervino in concept retail design over the years.

After a consolidated experience in the field of architecture and interior design and the development of projects in Japan and Europe, I started my entrepreneurial activity in 2012 and officially founded the studio Takeda Katsuya Design in 2014, today located in Via del Torchio in Milan.”

Your studio encompasses a wide range of design disciplines, including architecture, interior design, and product design. Could you explain the overarching philosophy that connects these diverse areas of your work? 

Takeda Katsuya:

“‘Design Atmosphere’ is at the heart of our philosophy as a continuous search for shapes, colours and materials to create moods and sensations. Design Atmosphere is a distinctive feature of Takeda Katsuya Design, we love to experiment with design concepts that meet the practical needs of both the space and its customers. Each project is distinguished by a concept idea that matches the client’s identity to define environments that represent their values and style.

Geshary Coffee _ Takeda Katsuya Design (2)
Geshary Coffee by Takeda Katsuya Design (Tokyo, Japan)

The work of the TKD studio involves mostly interior design, meaning the creative direction and designing of interiors. But they also specialise in graphic design – the study of brand identity in graphic design communication – and product design. The latter includes the design of custom-made furniture and lighting systems, always essential to the settings in order to create harmonious spaces with unique atmospheres.”

I was particularly intrigued by your Geshary Coffee project in Tokyo among your retail-related work. Could you tell me about the inception of this project and the specific reasons behind the design choices made for it? 

Takeda Katsuya:

“The first exclusive Geshary coffee shop is a five-storey building, including the ground floor, which offers an immersive experience in environments that tell the story of Geisha coffee, one of the finest coffee varieties renowned for its aroma and taste. The aim was to create a coffee shop for a diverse clientele that could appreciate the quality of coffee from the designed spaces, where people could stop and stay for daily moments of conviviality or networking and co-working.

Geshary Coffee by Takeda Katsuya Design (Tokyo, Japan)

The coffee shop is based on the concept of a “Coffee Paradise,” with each floor showcasing a different stage of coffee production from plantation to cup. Each floor, with an area of approximately 50 square metres, features a distinct design that reflects the choice of materials, colours, shapes, and furnishings with strong references to the local area, which have been interpreted and incorporated into the interior design.

Each floor follows the process of producing a cup of coffee, creating a unique and immersive experience for visitors. The main materials used in the project, which can be found in various shades throughout the floors, include terrazzo marble, parquet wood, glass, and metal.”

Geshary Coffee by Takeda Katsuya Design (Tokyo, Japan)

When it comes to retail design, what is the guiding approach that your studio adopts in developing interior concepts? 

Takeda Katsuya:

“Some of our most iconic projects, dated and recent, include the flagship shops of Paul&Shark, Nava, Antonio Biaggi, Tie your Tie, C’art, and Carlo Pazolini. Other than retail, further projects mostly revolve around the restoration industry – from typical Japanese cuisine restaurants, including Kido-ism, Fukurou, or Wicky’s in Milan, to the innovative coffee shop ‘Geshary Coffee’ in Tokyo.

A distinguishing feature of the studio is its ability to adapt to the needs of the space, to constantly listen to the client’s requests, to elaborate a style always in line with the client’s wishes in order to define increasingly customised moods, atmospheres and styles.”

Brace furniture collection _ Takeda Katsuya Design
A detail from the BRACE collection by Takeda Katsuya Design in collaboration with the company “Tatehiko”. “BRACE” represents a novel design concept featuring a structure with incredibly lightweight, elegant, and functional supports distinguished by diagonal lines. These lines enable various configurations, sizes, and applications, making the furniture exceptionally versatile and adaptable to any environment and ambiance.

Given your unique background as a designer with Japanese roots now based in Milan, how do you incorporate elements from both cultures into your design projects?

Takeda Katsuya:

“Cultural crossovers are a fundamental part of my studio’s design identity, in a constant harmonious and aesthetic interaction between Japanese and Italian trends.  In its designs, the studio always recalls Japanese culture with traditional materials like woods, yet also features contemporary minimalist furniture typical of European design.

Unique works of art were created specifically for some of their projects, with the unique oil paintings designed exclusively by Iida Takako. Each painting tells the story of an emotion and a memory, reflecting the design conceived by”


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