Jonah Takagi

JAPAN (1979)

At times, Jonah Takagi would rather be playing music. Born in Tokyo and raised in New England, Takagi studied furniture design at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 2002, then went on to work with a cabinetmaker in Portland, Oregon, before landing in Washington, DC. There he put his plentiful energy into set and prop building for theater and film, playing in indie rock bands and making his own furniture – simultaneously. By 2005, he had so much furniture stocked up that he needed a venue to both store and showcase it, so he founded Atelier Takagi. With a multidisciplinary approach, Takagi creates furniture, tabletop pieces and lighting, including the Bluff City Pendant (2009).

Takagi doesn’t approach his designs with a set philosophy, and self-evaluation doesn’t come naturally. “It’s a little bit hard for me to see trends or an arc when I look at my body of work, but people tell me that it’s playful,” he explains. And given his one-foot-in approach to his design career, it’s perhaps not surprising that Takagi doesn’t wear his success effortlessly. When asked at our 2016 Design Week photo shoot what he’d be doing if he weren’t a designer, he responded, “I’d probably be playing drums in the band that I play drums in when I’m not designing. They're on tour right now, and I’m at Design Week doing this. I’d rather be playing drums, to be completely honest.”

Takagi is also the co-founder and creative director of Field, a collective of international designers creating thoughtful products, all made in the United States by independent craftsmen. What’s ahead for him? “I’ve always wanted to design a chair. It’s kind of the holy grail. I haven’t designed one yet, but someday I will.”

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