Keiko Okamoto and the Idea of "Beautility"

Keiko Okamoto and the Idea of "Beautility"

Gregory Han
Jun 25, 2010

We like the austere simplicity of this desktop setup belonging to Tokyo-based jeweler Keiko Okamoto. A laptop, mouse, paper pad and pen, with just a few touches of personalized decor (and wee plant) that gives her workspace everything one needs to get their work done without distraction or clutter. Framing a couple pieces of fabric or decorative paper over your desk is an idea to steal too! Below, Lifework interviews Keiko about further details about her workspace...

How long have you worked from home? I have been making jewelry for about 12 years, the last 10 I've been doing it full-time. I have a sweet little workspace in my apartment, so I walk about 5 seconds to work!!

And where is home? I live in the old part of Tokyo. In this area, there are museums,Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, neighborhoods of craftsmen, and Japan 's biggest wholesale district. It's a perfect location for working and I consider myself very lucky!

Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Simple yet elegant! Well-made goods are not just useful but also beautiful. There is a long tradition in Japan of recognizing the perfection and beauty in things you use in everyday life. "Yo no Bi" as it is called, beauty in utility, is considered a very important value.  I get enjoyment out of being surrounded by "beautility".

How do you keep your office organized? In my case, I don't need to keep the workspace organized. So everything I think or find is important and has it's place. Sometimes it's waiting there for years and sometimes I can use it right away. Somehow all my work is connected and ideas and techniques that might have found there origins years ago in larger or more abstract works resurface. I really like that.

When you were setting up your home workspace what did you keep in mind? I wanted to fill the workspace with bright natural light.

Is there any piece of home work furniture you covet? I love Aeron chairs. The overall ergonomic design of the chair is great. And I especially like the adjustable height foot rest.

What is a desk accessory you can't do without? I'm a note-taking nut, so paperweights and clips are indispensable. And, likely quite different from a desk accessory – Skype –  for staying close to my friends and customers  around the world even though I'm half a world away from most of them.

What would you change about your own workspace? I'm actually pretty satisfied with my workspace, but I have a great interest in feng shui. I'd like to completely redecorate my apartment based on feng shui.

What do you most love about your space? The workspace has a big window, and I can occasionally see the picture-book scenery.

What inspires you? The first thing that comes to mind is classical ballet. Costume, scenic art, music and etoiles are a huge source of inspiration. And I love to make snap shots of things. I always carry a little camera with me. I'm fascinated by patterns – on a leaf, an iron fence, stone wall, texture of a tree, water-rimples and so on, most of my work finds its origin there.

Originally published at Lifework by Cerentha Harris

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