Thought of as the ‘architect of nature’, Toyo Ito finds inspiration in natural ecosystems and applies their shapes, materials and structures to buildings and furniture. Born in Seoul in 1941, Toyo founded the Urban Robot (URBOT) studio in Tokyo at age 30. To Ito, “there is no better architecture than a tree” – with one of his Sancal designs – the organic Konoha bench named after the Japanese word for ‘tree leaves’. Ito has been recognised by many international awards, including Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement and Best National Participation at the Venice Biennale. He has also received Gold Medals from CBA Madrid and RIBA of London, as well as a nomination for the coveted Pritzker Prize – the ‘Nobel’ of architecture.