Steve Lidbury

Designer Steve Lidbury, is finally back home in London. For the past eight years the innovative designer has been abroad living and punching out some of the most engaging interior designs in Tokyo. Lidbury’s work flourished in Japan and his current aesthetic borrows elements from the modern metropolis. “As soon as I stepped foot in Japan for what was to be a two-week trip, I realized that just two weeks was not going to be enough for me.” Lidbury says. Three was just so much going on there—the energy in the streets and all of the people.” At that moment I felt that I needed to try to achieve something creative here.”

By all accounts, the young designer succeeded with his initial goal. One could argue that the most notable aspect of his work is Lidbuy’s sharp sense of angles and use of space, which possesses a minimal elegance to his environments and a sincere enjoyment of polished furnishings. Whether he is weaving white leather wall tiles inside his staple Smacky Glam stores or creating a Nomad Bag that can be transformed into a cushion, water bottle or shelving, in Lidbury’s eyes the cross-cultural connections of West-meets-East becomes a singularly clear vision. “It was natural for me to come to Japan, and while it was not a normal route to go in the industry, but I have always been fascinated with how people interact with a space and how different ideas meet,” Lidbury says.

As a student at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, Lidbury won the silver in the IDDA Contemporary Spatial Design Competition in 1998, marking the beginning of his career. Upon graduating with his Masters, he worked for famed Creative Director Oliviero Toscani at Fabrica, where the two worked on the prestigious Benetton Concept Store, among other projects. Soon after, Lidbury set up a design studio with three other independent foreign designers in Tokyo called Steve Lidbury Design, Inc. Its services target international clients and include interior, exhibition, furniture, and graphic design, as well as art direction. In Japan, his achievements include the Sunao Kuwahara flagship store in Harajuku, for which he was nominated to be a finalist in Frame Magazine’s The Great Indoors Award 2007; the shop concept he developed for Smacky Glam fashion, which exists in 19 stores throughout Japan; and the Obi Supper Lounge, a bar and lounge located in Shibuya.

The sudden rise in the industry is rare given his age and the number of opportunities he has been to use in his advantage. From fashion to nightlife, Lidbury’s provocative ideas have earned him a prominent role in Japanese and international design. His studio’s portfolio includes the, Sunao Kuwahara flagship store in Harajuku (nominated finalist for ‘The Great Indoors Award’), Obi Supper Lounge in Shibuya, Addition select shop in Omotesando, Rubyrivet, Eat creative agency office, Arti high-end contract furniture for retail and restaurant; is sure to grow and as one of the flagships of British design in Japan is set to press for a new agenda for polycultural design and even greater international acclaim.

Now back where he started his career, it will be fascinating to see which avenue he decides to traverse. One can be sure that whatever is on the horizon, the young designer will continue to push the envelope for what design can mean for people. “Essentially what I try to do is shape lifestyle—to shape the way people work, play, shop, eat, meet interact, and live. It’s a wonderful responsibility,” Lidbury says.

– Alex Shore

This reading is by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Steve Lidbury.

1. This person is highly intuitive. He perceives the world all around and tries to intellectually explain these perceptions with less success than he’d like.

2. A truly gentle person who was almost timid as a child, but slowly gained force as they grew and experienced life.

3. Extremely intelligent, logical in thought, sane in thinking…except when in love.

4. A collector of many things: friends, fine art, old and soft shirts, etc.

5. Will grow to be amazing old. This is a person who comes into their own after they are 50.

6. Will have a varied and interesting career and will always be lucky in this way. Not one who will suffer long through boring or repetitive jobs.

7. Possesses a vast, far-flung imagination infused with a love of travel, but he needs a home too, to keep all of his collections in and memorabilia.