Work: Suppose Design Office

Hometown: Milan, Italy

Arrived: 2014

An interior designer and architect by trade, Lorenzo Sanna moved from Italy to Japan to work at one of the country’s best architecture firms.

Lorenzo Sanna had never been to Japan when he arrived in 2014 for an internship with Hiroshima-based architecture firm Suppose Design Office. He had long admired the work of Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and Kazuyo Sejima but it wasn’t until he read a story about Suppose Design Office in an Italian architecture magazine that he thought about working in Japan. “I only knew about Japan from its architecture. I wanted to start at Suppose Design Office for a shorter period to see whether I would like it,” he says.
Sanna decided to stay. As a staff interior designer and architect he works on homes, offices and shops. He raves about the craftsmanship and conscientiousness of the country’s carpenters and construction crews. “The builders here care about the project in the same way as the architects,” he says.
With just 1.2 million residents, Hiroshima is less hectic than Japan’s biggest cities. It’s also more convenient: Sanna’s daily commute is a five-minute walk and he cycles everywhere. “The city is compact and there are many rivers where it’s nice to go for walks or read a book,” he says.
This past summer a typhoon swept through Hiroshima, leaving some shops with empty shelves. “Things went right back to normal after a week,” he says. “I have never felt threatened by natural disasters. I feel very safe here.”