Detective Note

Vol.067-Involuntary Habits


Interviewer: Hikaru Kawata

Kawata:Today’s topic is automatic mannerisms and involuntary habits.  I would especially like to talk about the habits we have that we like and those we want to change.

One habit I have that I am really fond of is the bodily position I find relaxing.  Ever since I was little, whenever I wanted a quick nap or just to relax for a moment, I would sit in a cross-legged position and bend my upper body over into a round ball. 

MendeThat sounds really painful, anything but relaxing.  I don’t think most bodies bend that way. 

Kawata I find it really calming.  I get really cold hands and feet so I tuck them around my torso, in a very revolutionary style.  Not many people can copy this habit, so I really like it. 

MendeYes, it is very unique.  Any bad habits?

KawataI get nervous in front of people and under the pressure I bite my tongue.  I can’t seem to relax, it is a very bad habit. 

MendeSo, speaking of physical habits,  lately when I am working at my computer, my wife will suddenly say, “Turtle!.”  I realized that while working at my computer over long periods of time I gradually start to hunch over.  Bad habit!

KawataHow about a good habit?

MendeI like to play a lot of different sports.  When I am trying something new, I always do research beforehand so I can perform better.  I think it is a good habit.

KawataAnd you can learn this way?

MendeOnce I have it in my head and process it, I can perform well to a certain degree.  I have an excellent capacity for learning.

Kawata That is impressive!

MendeHow about other people?  What habits make you feel uneasy?

KawataGenerally, I like to watch people and observe their mannerisms.  It is my habit to study other people to find out their personality.   So I am very interested in other people’s habits. 

MendeYes, when I walk down the street, I think to myself, “I wonder what the relationship between those two birds is?”  “That lady looks very depressed.  Is she fighting with her boyfriend?”  I like to walk and observe.  I think we might have the same kind of habit. 

Kawata Maybe so.  However, with this habit one can find many good things about people, but sometimes I watch their reactions and act accordingly.

MendeYes, maybe so.  It is good to be able to read people and react accordingly to a certain point.  However,  from my point of view, you are still holding back on your individuality around us at the office. 

KawataYes, you are right.  I am a little more talkative and goofy, at times, maybe a little boyish with a very distinct personality.   I haven’t been able to show my real self here at the office, which makes me a little irritated with myself. 


 I think it will gradually come about. 

I am a very detailed person.  I pay attention to any and all small details.  On top of that I am impatient.  So if something bothers me, I might even cut someone off in mid sentence.  I know this is not a good habit, but as a designer, I think it is very important to pay close attention to detail.  Tadao Ando is very detail oriented!!   When designing, if one is not paying close attention to detail, the end product is going to be no good. 


 I see.  That is very helpful. 

Through different projects we have the opportunity to work with several design offices.  I find it very interesting that each design team has their own habits, personality, methods etc.

MendeLong ago, I had the opportunity to visit the architect, Sachio Otani, at his office.  The office has a very unusual smell.  His style was to build architectural models using oil-based sculpting clay.   On the other hand, at Yoshinobu Ashihara`s office they used polystyrene paper, making very thorough models for show.   I didn’t realize how much the materials used for model making in architectural offices impacted the actual architectural structure. 

At Tadao Ando`s office there are hardly any models on display, but the walls are covered with sketches and floor plans.  At Toyo Ito`s office rather than complete models, there are alot of parts laying around.  Depending on the office, different design methods and processes lead to different architectural designs.  It is very interesting.  I wonder what LPA`s habits are?

KawataThat is very interesting!!

MendeI`ve never noticed before, but I`ve been told that it is very easy to recognize an LPA`s lighting design.

Kawata I see, from an outsider’s point of view, LPA has its own character.

Mende:Compared to when we started LPA, the number of staff has gradually increased.  My hope is that  the character of each individual will become the character of the entire office.  We need to create more opportunities for staff to express their individuality, like through internal design competitions. 

KawataThat sounds like fun!!  We should really do that!