Detective Note

Vol.015– An Encouragement of Morning


Interviewer: Yumi Honda

Theme: An Encouragement of Morning

Honda  Mr. Mende, you are a morning person and come into the office early, but that lifestyle and working as a lighting designer seems to be contradictory. I am also a morning person, so today I would like to discuss waking up early and how we spend the hours in our day.
As lighting designers we have late on-site meetings which leads many to become nightowls. Intrinsically, the city lights and nightscape are the reason why many choose to become lighting designers. How about you? Have you always been a morning person?


Remnant of the night and light in the morning
Refreshed by sun light in the morning during vacation

Mende Ok, so I take it that today’s theme is “recommending being an early riser for lighting designers.” I have always been an early riser. How about you? Do you feel better in the morning?

Honda Not always, but I like to take in the morning sun.

Mende  If I have a choice, I think I’m more of a evening person.

Honda Yes, I like the evening too, but I really like the refreshing feeling of the morning sun. Even if I have not had a good night’s sleep the sunrise is refreshing. In the book Makurano Sohshi, or The Pillow Book, the opening line is “In spring, the dawn – when the slowly paling mountain rim is tinged with red…” Or “Winter, the early morning…” Nothing opens your eyes like the cold on an early winter morning. I really like that.

Mende Yes, it is an exhilarating feeling like hitting the reset button. Every morning when I wake up I never thing “Oh, I hate today, already.” I feel really good when I wake up and I just seem to get lots of things done.

Honda  That is great!!

Mende Even in the city. Some cities never seem to sleep, but in the morning the poisonous nature of things or the hustle and bustle of people during the day seem to be reset. The conditions of the atmosphere are also different in the morning and evening. Mornings are fresh. In the evening, we are more likely to spend it doing something with somebody. In the morning, there is more solitude and one is free to spend the time as one pleases. We don’t usually have drinks with someone early in the morning. LOL! Are you inspired by the morning sunlight?

Honda At first light, the sky is white and the silhouette of buildings floats on the horizon. I really like this picture. Many high-rise buildings are famous for their nightly illuminations, but I really recommend seeing their silhouette set against the blueish-white morning sky. It is very moving.

Mende  In the evening, the sun seems to takes its time to drop lower and lower on the horizon and then, just like that, it is gone. In the morning, there are the colors of the dawn sky, but the sun just seems to climb higher and higher in no time.

Honda Maybe, but before the sun comes up the whitish sky seems to last a long time. Last year, on temporary assignment in Singapore, I lived on the 23rd floor of my building. I left the curtains and windows open most of the time. I could really see the city and sky. In Singapore the sun comes up later, but after it is up, in no time, the sky is a bright blue of daytime. So I really enjoyed that short time-frame of the morning sky. Sometimes it was purple. Sometimes it was bluish. Everyday seemed to be different and I never grew tired of it. I took lots of pictures. A dimly lit morning sky really sets off the hallway lights of large apartment buildings that haven’t been switch off yet. The dark windows and dim light, like the city is waking up. I think the impression one feels is very different in the evening when the sun is going down and city nights come on one by one.

Mende I guess even in the city the best time to experience nature is in the morning.
The Sumida River runs right in front of my home. The colors on the surface of the water continually change throughout the day. Especially in the morning, windows on the other side of the river reflect light and I enjoy watching the different colors. My bedroom faces east. In the morning when I open the curtains, the morning sun floods directly into the room. I read books or the newspaper in bed.
Don`t you seem to think of and come up with various things in the morning? In the morning I come up with many ideas and am constantly make little notes everywhere. I always make sure I have a notepad by my bedside for scribbling.
Long time ago I heard that Arata Isozaki was a morning person. I was surprised that he, as an architect, was a morning person. It was a fresh realization. Toyo Ito is also a morning person, come to think of it. I heard he used to go to the Jingu Stadium driving range to hit a few balls before heading to the office. I’m sure he also must have thought morning was a good time to just think.

Honda My time is on the train on the way to work. I short nap on the train is good for one’s senses. Also, commuting as the same time each day, it is easier to realize seasonal changes and notice other little changes in one’s surroundings. Especially in the spring, trees get greener and greener each day, which is easy to notice.

Mende Our profession tends to breed night owls, but I`d like to go to sleep when the sun goes down and waking up with the sun in the morning. I always believe we should learn from natural light.

Honda One`s five senses are very alert in the morning after sleeping, I good time to rediscover the finer details natural light. We should start an “ Early Risers Club for Designers.” I know I am going to continue enjoying my morning time.