After moving from Japan to LA in 1999, a young Shin Okuda held a variety of different jobs over the following couple of years before finding work with a sculptor who also happened to do furniture pieces. After spending countless hours in the studio absorbing the various woodworking techniques and studying designers, Okuda set out on his own five years later making furniture pieces for himself and for his family. Today, the designer now has a studio of his own designing furniture for various brands and clients.

Today, the furniture designer operates under the studio name WAKA WAKA and brings elements of Bauhaus architecture, Gerrit Reitveld, traditional Japanese architecture–sukiya and teahouse styles, the painter Soga Shohaku and Japanese shrine furniture into his pieces that include everything from chairs to desks and shelving to desktop accessories.

While the majority of Okuda’s designs are done in wood, he wants to being incorporating different materials into his projects including metal, glass and ceramics. Ultimately, Okuda wants his pieces to have an element of timelessness that can be used for decades.

“I hope that my pieces are used in someone’s personal space and that they also reflect a personality in that space,” said Okuda. “I want to continue making pieces that can have a longevity, can function in a variety of interiors over someone’s lifetime.”

As a part of the CLAE Perspectives video series, Okuda gives us a rundown on his design process and where he finds is inspiration:

Check out more of Okuda’s work by heading over to WAKA WAKA.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.