Shin & Tomoko Azumi
Shin and Tomoko Azumi were both born in Japan – Shin in Kobe in 1965 and Tomoko in Hiroshima in 1966. They met at and graduated from Kyoto City University of Art, where they studied product design and environmental design respectively. Their first collaboration was a group sculpture project in their first year in Kyoto.
After graduating in 1989, Shin worked in the personal computer department of NEC, the Japanese electronics group, and Tomoko joined an architectural design office. In 1992, Shin won a place on the industrial design course at London’s Royal College of Art. Tomoko moved to London with him. She started the RCA’s furniture design course in 1993 having spent the previous year studying English and art history at Goldsmith’s College.
Shin and Tomoko formed Azumi an 1995 and started establishing themselves in the design world by putting limited editions into production and gradually winning commercial commissions. They concentrated on pieces which could be economically produced in small quantities such as the apparently simple, but conceptually ingenuous wooden Table = Chest (Folding Table), which was light, compact and versatile – qualities that are typical among the Japanese. The Azumi’s biggest hightlight included winning the “Product of the Year” award at the International Interior Design Awards in 2000 for the LEM Piston Stool.