VOGUE Living Australia - - News - By NEALE WHI­TAKER Pho­tographed by PAUL BAR­BER

Ya­sumichi Morita caters to his fans’ tastes with work that merges cer­e­mony with pop art

OSAKA- BORN YA­SUMICHI MORITA didn’t train as an in­te­rior de­signer. He ad­mits that what set him on his ca­reer path was a de­sire to af­ford the same cloth­ing brands as his friends in la­bel-ob­sessed late-1980s Ja­pan. He needed a job. Start­ing as a win­dow-dresser, Morita cut his in­te­ri­ors teeth on a bar named Cool in 1987. His de­sign prac­tice, Glam­orous, now em­ploys 50 peo­ple and has cre­ated award-win­ning projects through­out Ja­pan and in Lon­don, New York, Paris and Hong Kong. “Whether the de­sign is for a restau­rant or club, I try to reach deep in­side the hu­man psy­che… to cre­ate some­thing that speaks to de­sire,” he says. “My job is to guide my au­di­ence and to sat­isfy their needs and wants.”

Morita-san, you pub­lished a mono­graph in 2013 ti­tled Glam­orous Phi­los­o­phy No.1. How do you de­scribe that phi­los­o­phy? I didn’t at­tend de­sign school. I did it on my own. I was just 18 and wanted to learn about restau­rant and bar in­te­ri­ors and fash­ion, and cre­ate places where I would re­ally want to go. And 30 years later, noth­ing has changed.

Tell us about your fa­mous Bac­carat chan­de­lier from 2014. We cre­ated the big­gest chan­de­lier ever for [French crys­tal man­u­fac­turer] Bac­carat. It was to cel­e­brate the com­pany’s 250th an­niver­sary and weighed 1.8 tonnes with 25,000 pieces of crys­tal.

Is there cur­rently a pre­dom­i­nant style in Ja­panese restau­rant in­te­ri­ors? Peo­ple are much more aware of de­sign than they were even 10 years ago. But it’s my im­pres­sion that in Ja­pan and world­wide, we see so much de­sign that is sim­i­lar. Fash­ions tend to fol­low the same di­rec­tion. If some­one does some­thing suc­cess­ful some­where, ev­ery­one will fol­low. I’m pleased that in Ja­pan, there is now a re­turn to tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als and fab­rics. I, too, want to re­visit our tra­di­tions and com­bine them with modern de­sign.

What do you en­joy de­sign­ing most, restau­rants or bars? I like both but ho­tels are the most ex­cit­ing as I se­lect all of the fix­tures and ma­te­ri­als — right down to the toi­let pa­per — be­cause I want the cus­tomers to en­joy a per­fect en­vi­ron­ment.

Is your fo­cus mostly in Ja­pan or are you work­ing on projects glob­ally? I travel all the time. In Lon­don we de­signed the in­te­rior of a restau­rant. And I have been in­volved in ho­tel restau­rants in Tai­wan and Las Ve­gas.

Morita-san, you have achieved your am­bi­tion to de­sign ho­tels. What is next? A nurs­ing home for me, with a he­li­copter pad so I can go out for lunch! VL

At the Glam­orous head­quar­ters in Tokyo, pieces by Ottmar Hörl, Olympia Le Tan, Luis Mo­rais and Hel­mut New­ton. right: Ya­sumichi Morita 1 by Mozart Guerra. bot­tom: Ya­sumichi Morita with a chan­de­lier he de­signed. op­po­site page, from left: spray cans by Mr. Brain­wash, Life Is Flower by Morita and VISKEN 5 (Mint) by Damien Hirst.

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