Tokyo, Japan

UUfie is a multidisciplinary creative studio established in 2009 in Tokyo. Founded by architect-designers Irene Gardpoit (born in Toronto in 1979) and Eiri Ota (born in Paris in 1980), UUfie’s work spans the fields of art, architecture, landscape, furniture, and product design. The practice celebrates experimentation and diversity—often inspired by nature—and aims to create “experiences of transition” in all of its work.  In 2011, UUfie opened a second office in Toronto.

Standout architectural projects include the Ports 1961 façade (Shanghai, 2013-2015); the Printemps Haussmann renovation (Paris, 2013); and Lake Cottage (Bolsover, Canada, 2011-2013), a two-story family home along the Kawartha Lakes that references the idea of a tree house. Notable furniture and object designs include Whiteout Vases (2014), part of the Dinuvo series, a collection of hand-blown glass objects that balance on their centers of gravity like upside-down eggs; as well as Peacock-S and Peacock–L (both 2011) and Black Peacock (2014), a set of chairs inspired by the natural plumage of their namesake. All three are composed of a type of acrylic composite that is delicately manipulated by hand; the latter, however, is finished with several coats of dark lacquer, making it an anomaly to the collection, while still embodying the idea of a natural moment frozen in time.

The studio’s work has been included in several contemporary design exhibitions and galleries, including, as of this writing, Design Exchange (Toronto, 2015), Salone del Mobile (Milan, 2014), Guild Design Fair (Cape Town, 2014), Canada Bloom (Toronto, 2014), Museo Bagatti Valsecchi (Milan, 2014), Promenade du Port (Sardinia, 2014), Design Miami (2013), Spazio Rossana Orlandi (Milan, 2013), and the Interior Design Show (Toronto, 2012). The pair has also earned numerous awards, such as: a 2015 OAA Design Excellence Award for their Lake Cottage project; and a 2014 Project of the Year Winner (also for Lake Cottage) in the Best of Canada Design Competition, among others.

Gardpoit earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Toronto in 2002. She is also certified as a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and a licensed architect (OAA). From 2003 to 2008, Gardpoit worked as an associate at architectural firm Arata Isozaki & Associates in Tokyo.  Ota, meanwhile, earned his Bachelor’s degree from the Musashino Art University in Tokyo in 2002. He is certified as a licensed first-class architect in Japan. Prior to UUfie, he worked as an associate at the architectural firm of Jun Aoki & Associates from 2003-2008.