Interview with executive creative director of Japan-listed Nomura's commercial division

Ryu Kosaka

April, 2021

Ryu Kosaka joined Japan-listed Nomura Co. Ltd in 1985 and has since risen the rungs to become the executive creative director of its Commercial Facilities Division and the head of Aoyama Nomura Design (A.N.D), the high-end interior, architectural and product design collective of Nomura Co. Ltd. He is the first Japanese national to be accoladed Best Bar for the world’s leading Restaurant & Bar Design Awards and the brainchild behind internationally-acclaimed projects globally. Asia Designers Directory interviews Ryu Kosaka to find out more about his design approach and defining projects in his esteemed career.

You have designed for many international brands and won numerous awards. What inspires you in your designs?

I am inspired by the history and character of a space. At the same time, the brand sets the tone for the design, from which I seek cues from a brand identity and concept to create aesthetics that bring out the essence and vision of the brand.

How would you describe your design style and what do you hope to achieve through your designs?

My designs can be interpreted as the exchange of light and shadows. One of the objectives of my designs is to create engaging spaces that leave a lasting impression, at the same time fuelling a sense of happiness and harmony among people and society.



Do you have a signature touch or a preference for certain elements?

The play of light and shadows is instrumental in my designs, where I explore two opposite ends of a spectrum to create visual impact. I also like to work with materials that lend a fresh perspective to a space, particularly natural elements and materials that add an artisanal touch.



What are some milestone projects in your career?

Three works come to mind as they opened up growth opportunities for myself and A.N.D. The Main Dining Room of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, for instance, marked my first breakaway from restaurants and bars into the hotel domain. I was selected following an overseas competition and that has since opened up doors for 5-star hotels in Japan and overseas.

W Guangzhou FEI Ultra Lounge in China is another landmark project, having garnered more than 10 international awards, including the Best Bar at the prestigious Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.

Finally, YANDM Residence signalled another significant milestone. This high-end private residential project spanned my involvement from its architecture to interior design. Subsequently, we became more sought after for residential projects in Japan and overseas.


As the executive creative director of A.N.D.’s Commercial Facilities Division, what is your approach towards developing a creative vision for each project?

Establishing good communications and rapport within the team is important. There must be a shared understanding not only in the overall direction of the project, but also in the finer details to achieve design excellence.

Over the years, how do you think you have grown both personally and professionally?

I have become more adaptable as the interior architecture and design landscape continues to evolve. As the company grows in breadth and depth, I have also become more adept at problem-solving and intuitive when responding to various project scopes. I can better anticipate and rise to new challenges, especially in proposing designs to meet diverse curated needs.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on various projects, including a luxury resort hotel in Japan, a ryokan-inspired hotel in Kyoto, several high-end residential developments overseas, as well as cafes of designer brands such as Louis Vuitton.

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