Interior Designer and Curator, Hikari Yokoyama, spends her days focusing on creating meaningful experiences in space through art and design. She blurs the boundaries between the various disciplines and extracts what is relevant from the worlds of art, design, fashion, science, literature, architecture, history and nature for each project that she works on. Read on to learn more about her approach to work and her daily life.
Spotlight On: Hikari Yokoyama
Q: Walk us through a day in your life and how you manage to find time for yourself?
A: I’m at the chapter in my life where there is very little “me” time, but I am reveling in it. I have worked hard to be at this stage in life and I am aware that it is a finite chapter where work and family come first. I had a very full last two decades of my life where I lived more for my own exploration; it was a period of intake, so now it’s time to put all of that harvesting into output and construction so my ideas can come to life.
On a weekday, I wake up to spend time with my daughter and get her ready for the day; twice a week, this is also my sacrosanct time for yoga or exercise. Then, it’s straight to the office. I try to allocate time carefully – no lunch meetings anymore for me. On an ideal week, I have one day of creative work, one day of back-to-back meetings, one day of running around sourcing, and always at least one or two exhibitions. This also gets thrown by various events that I produce, client meetings, site visits or needing to preview auctions.
I try to make it home as much as possible to give my daughter supper and then put her down. Then I am back on the final “closing of the day” emails, calls and meetings before my own dinner. Afterwards, it’s time for my husband and I to reconnect. I am constantly researching and looking at art and design – on the weekends, evenings, holidays, and any free time. I love doing this and I am lucky that my partner loves to do it as well. There needs to be a balance between intake/stimulus/inspiration/open-ended thinking and output/execution. For creative work, I feel this is essential.
Q: What made you take the leap into a career of design and curation?
A: I have always been interested in art, as I love creating meaningful engagement with it. Art was always a way to be cerebral and feeling at the same time, and it always gave me clues that helped discover myself and open up to a much wider world. I am not a curator in the traditional sense of the word, but I am very much concerned with how people experience and engage with culture.
Space, and the way that it is structured, has a profound influence on human interactions – whether this be on a macro scale like the efficient grid system of streets in Manhattan or on a micro scale, such as the eye level of an artwork in relationship to where one might pause before entering a room. I delved into the online world with my development of Paddle8 but, through that process, I also realized that I am not just interested in selling, but in the process and story behind objects and how they relate to a specific set of parameters in time and space, as well as how to create pathways into their essence for specific audiences.
I previously felt a strong prevalence for fine art as the highest form of cultural expression because it could be so open, but now I feel ever more strongly that great design also gives structure to an experience, and the two must harmonize together. The hierarchies are not relevant to the experience – perhaps they are more relevant for the valuation of your asset classes, but the right tone and wattage of lightbulb that costs £3 is really important to me to be able to create the optimum experience of a £10M world class piece of art. All aspects must be considered.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
A: In space! This can be visiting a historic home, a garden, a museum exhibition, a friend of a friend’s house, a hotel, a church. Travelling is key for me as when I travel, I feel obliged to try and experience as many different spaces as possible. Inspecting how things work and feel in real space is always very exciting for me. I also frequently dream of spaces and architecture in my sleep.
Q: What advice would you give to young professionals looking to break into the industry?
A: Find a mentor – ideally one that you could work with. Learning the processes, the boring admin, and the systems that all provide the backbone to the creative part is important. A good mentor will also teach you about things you cannot learn from school, YouTube tutorials or your parents, and they will also give you confidence that you cannot get from your peers.
Q: We’d love to hear about how you take care of your skin. What does your skincare regimen typically look like?
A: I grew up with acne – not terrible, but deep occasional cystic acne which always made me very self-conscious about my skin. After many years of this, I found that taking spirulina and blue-green algae helped a lot to clear it up. Annoyingly, by the time my acne started to reliably clear, I started getting early middle age fine lines, so I am suddenly much more keen to protect my skin and give it optimum conditions to rejuvenate itself whenever it can, as my cells grow a bit older and more tired.
Every day I use an SPF 50 on my face and every night I use RéVive Skincare’s Moisturizing Renewal Hydrogel, followed by Moisturizing Renewal Cream. I have noticed visible results within a few weeks of changing over to this routine. By the morning, my skin looks dewy, and its texture is visibly finer.
Photo by Jon Gorrigan