“Taito Designers Village packs a lot of old-school charm — literally. It’s housed in an elementary school rendered redundant by changing demographics. The walls still have murals painted by former students, a parking lot retains the outlines of a running track, workshop space is furnished with science-lab desks, and the sinks lining one of the hallways sure weren’t designed for grown-ups. ‘The toilets are really small too,’ says Ayako Takagi.
“Takagi is my guide for the afternoon, introducing me to the facilities and faces of the workspace. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, her long hair capped with a bright turquoise hat, she possesses both a personality and a face that, had she chosen a different path, could easily have landed her on the cover of a fashion magazine. Instead, inspired by her jewelry-designing parents, Takagi makes character art and figures under the brand name Uamou. She’s part of the second generation of designers who have been selected for a three-year, low-rent residency at one of the 19 studios that comprise Taito Designers Village.”
Published in Tokyo’s Metropolis magazine