Lena Shockley

Spacial Designer, Tokyo


Lena Shockley is a spatial designer from Tokyo. She creates window displays, exhibition and shop layouts, art direction for photo shoots, and designs public installations and fixtures. She drinks tea more than water and takes photographs of the city during her walks. Her idea of happiness is to create paradise in the form of a public park and hopes someday make one.





Your idea of happiness?

To create paradise, visually, physically and morally. I would like to make a public park one day. (Not necessarily what I’m going for, but check out Shusaku Arakawa’s “Yoro Tenmei Hantenchi” if you haven’t already.)


Your idea of misery?

Being stuck.


If not yourself, who would you be?

Someone who grew up in the forest. 


Your heroes?

Chris Hedges entered my list of heroes recently.


What is your present state of mind?

Zen. Just kidding.


Bedside table books?

At the moment, a book by the anatomist Takeshi Yoro and a book by designer Ikko Tanaka.


What do you do if you can’t sleep at night?

I put in 100-yen shop earbud headphones and listen to people’s voices at very low volume, generally in a language I don’t understand, or maybe a vapid Japanese TV show. Something far away from the environment of my mind.


Do you collect?

I collect bird’s-eye view layout blueprints of houses I like and would realistically want to live in someday.


Tea or coffee?

Tea. Everyday I drink more tea than I do water. But the one-word answer belies the unsavory complexity of banal operations in the Nakagin Capsule Tower. Although the water still runs in our capsule (most of the other ones have had the water shut off, or else suffer massive leaks which spill down on the street) decades of corrosion have left our water the color of tumeric, in a best case scenario tainted with rust. We now buy 2L bottles of water at the convenience stores in the area, but with most of the brands on sale being inexplicably bottled in Ibaraki, radiation is a concern, and we’ve had to compromise with Nagano water, at least a prefecture or two removed from the Fukushima reactor.  


What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That there were only video tapes in English and none in Japanese. Apparently it was a mind-control strategy by my parents to get me to learn English.


A color?

Shades of beige. Or same colors in different textures.


A city or a country?

Looking for one. Maybe I can only be satisfied in combination. Like Paris and Bali, Tokyo and Toronto, or Poland and Holland.


What are your plans for this weekend?

Work on the lamp sculpture I’m making for a new clothing shop in Shinjuku.


A song?




Right or left handed?



What is the best dish you can cook?

Ema datshi (a Bhutanese dish with a lot of cheese and pepper).


What is your middle name?

Don’t have one but I have two last names: Sasakura and Shockley.


What do you do in your free time?

Do mood/image version of  the Japanese word game Shiritori. You can see it here: http://lenashockley.tumblr.com


What inspire you?



What do you do for money?

I do spatial design. Window displays, photoshoot art direction, exhibition and shop layouts, fixture design, selling photo prints and so on.


What do you do for pleasure?

I take photos when walking around. Composing the shapes and lines in the frame. I have a photo series “Tokyo 100 Stops A Day”.


Pants or skirt?

Skirt at the moment.