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Yumiko Shukuda, Toker + Associates Architecture + Interior Design
Top 5 Under 5 Canadian Emerging Interior Designer 2013

1)      What did it mean to you to be named one of IDC’s Top 5 Under 5 Emerging Interior Designers for 2013?

Due to my Japanese heritage, I always felt as though I was different from other Canadian interior designers; I was educated  outside of North America and I was not exposed to the same sort of trends and styles as my colleagues. After winning Top 5, however, I have recognized my unique talents and can now say that I am proud to be a Japanese-Canadian interior designer.

2)      What inspired you to become an interior designer?

I was living in Japan in 1995 when the Kobe earthquake hit. It damaged our house to the point where we had to keep buckets on the floor to collect water leaking from the cracked ceiling. Living in such a stressful situation ignited my passion to create comfortable environments for people. 

3)      What advice do you have for other interior designers in the first five years of their career?

I think emerging professionals should try as many different things as possible and take chances – areas of designs, trends, influences, methods – so that they can find their own strengths and take their area of specialization to the next level.

4)      You will need to start thinking about writing the NCIDQ exam soon – are you ready? How are you preparing?

I haven’t quite started yet, but I will take each exam separately and do it step by step.

5)      By becoming a Top 5 for 2013, you received an extensive prize package including airfare and accommodation to IIDEX Canada, participating in the Top 5 roundtable, a trophy designed by Tim Forbes presented to you during the IDC Annual Meeting, access to showroom parties and tours sponsored by Interface and Knoll, and dinner at one of Toronto’s chicest restaurants through Dine by Design. Which part was most meaningful and what did you take away from the experience?

Receiving the trophy during the IDC Annual Meeting was truly special for me. Every time I see the trophy, it reminds me to keep a fresh perspective and of all the wonderful memories that I made during IIDEX and the Top 5 experience.

6)      Where do you see yourself five years down the road? Ten years?

I’d like to stick to my area of specialization – commercial design – and become an expert in my field.

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