Adorned in her vibrant red dress and vintage choker, Chieko sits across from me on our company porch. With her smile fashioned ear to ear, she is poised, hair perfectly set, and ends flicked symmetrically to a 90 degree angle. Seemingly delicate from the exterior, but a firecracker on the counter, she is small, but spirited; energy radiant in any room of her presence.
Inspired by her architect mother, Chieko tells me she has a deep love for interior design. She can spend hours on the Meguro River (‘Furniture Street’) wandering through the antique shops, picturing the type of apartments she would design and eventually live in. This, she mentions, is a form of meditation to her. And from spending some time listening to her, I can tell this also ties into her ambitions in her professional life.
“It’s kind of like UI. You need to make it consistent, have a concept, have an atmosphere… You need to think of the whole picture, and how one addition to the room can affect the flow of everything.”
When she was younger, she was taken to Canada by her mother who was determined to become an architect. Single-handedly attending school and raising her two young children in a foreign country, Chieko was constantly brought onto her mother’s escapades, awing at unique houses and interior concepts. It was from there where she found her passion for the art, but also her strive for independence that was fueled by watching the back of her mother pursuing her dreams. This ‘can-do strong-willed’ attitude is evident in every aspect of her life, even through the relationships and projects she builds as an Account Manager at The Plant.
In college, she was the mastermind behind her dance group’s choreography, and even pursued a rigorous law degree at one of Japan’s top Universities… Like her life so far, her dance routines, and her long walks and shopping sprees through the ‘antique street’, she truly finds joy in turning her conceptual imaginations into physical reality. Her apartment is the epitome of who she is and who she constantly strives to be. And at the moment, she is even taking on a project to redesign a restaurant in Tokyo.
There is so much to learn about Chieko. Little can you tell from her poised composure, that there’s a small fire that’s ready to ignite.
Author: Kana Hihara
Illustrator: Carina Kikuchi