Chapter 4: Why we wear a suit and tie

Since the Kenzo Tange era, the dress code for our designers has always been a suit and tie. Our dress code reflects our role of both designer and businessperson, as well as our recognition that architecture is a service industry and that we are service providers. We wear a suit and tie to show our respect to our profession and our clients.

When we start a new project, we always start fresh, which we express as “emptying out our pockets.” If we were to express this in color, it would be white. We start completely new, with a blank page. At that point, there is no design: our view is that the design is in the client’s mind. Of course, our clients are not professional architects, so it may be difficult for them to express or put their thoughts into words. However, they definitely have a space where they feel comfortable. We go to great lengths to draw out these thoughts.

That is why we value dialogue with the client. Through multiple conversations, we draw out our clients’ thoughts and together we create a vision for the buildings. In our capacity as professionals, we add suggestions and provide advice during the process. However, the basis for the design is the client’s thoughts to which we apply our techniques, sensibilities, and ideas to shape the buildings. We do not seek to persuade. We continue dialogue with the client until we come up with a design with which they are satisfied. This is the Tange Associates work style.

Tange Associates recognizes that architecture is a service industry and we reflect that guiding principle in our work ethic.