Mr. Takaaki Mitsui

Carpenter / Sculptor

Usually, I wake up in the morning and purchase materials at a DIY store. Then, I head off to the site to do the work and when I return in the evening, I set up for the next day. There are quite a lot of sites in Tokyo, and it takes about an hour and a half to commute, which is around 3 hours for a round trip every day. Yesterday, I woke up at 4 am and since it was raining, I came to my workshop/studio at 5am to load up the material and went to the site in Asagaya, Tokyo.
When I was in my twenties or early thirties, I used to do sculpture after my work, but lately I often make my sculptures on my days off or do a little between working on sites. Now I carve works using tools from my workshop/studio as motifs, and I think about what I want to use as a motif for a sculpture and see what I simply like or I use on a daily basis. From this perspective, I encounter more discoveries. I usually only see these things as tools like functionality or weight when I hold them in my hands, but when I look at them as motifs for sculpture, I find things like, ‘Oh, if I look closely, I can see this shape here’. Then, even when I am just measuring dimensions, I start thinking and looking at something completely different, and it’s interesting in that sense. Perhaps it is similar to the way a painter draws a self-portrait. I think I like primitive work, whether it is carpentry or sculpture. I think I instinctively like the act of processing wood and building a house.


“Seeing", may mean "imagining". Maybe ‘seeing’ means taking into consideration not only myself but also other people. When I was just starting off this work, I often preconceived notions of what is regarded as a “good job”, such as wanting to make something beautiful, or waning to make something that I thought was cool, and I was towards that. But recently, I feel the importance of constructing the whole space while reviewing the overall space and the atmosphere. I listen to as many background stories as possible from the owner and the architect so that I can interpret in my own way. I can accumulate the ideas one by one in this way. For example, in the cases of renovation works, there are inherent restrictions, depending on the environment, but if you see them as restrictions as they are, they become negative, so I try to interpret the word “restrictions” in a positive way, like “coincidence”.



A long time ago, I was taught that "accumulation of meanings" was the essence of sculpting. In this sense, I also consider the works of a carpenter as an accumulation of meanings and coincidences. It is up to the skill of the carpenter to fulfil the wishes of the owner as much as possible within that meaning. When I receive a work, I endure a lot of from thinking about it in detail, but when I come up with a good idea in the end, I think to myself that I like this work.