Reina Imagawa (b.1992) is a Japanese designer, artist, ex-architect and trilingual social engineer from Tokyo and New York, now based in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Collaborating with actors both inside and outside of institutions, her work looks critically at models of social participation embedded in art, design and urban systems, exploring the role design could play in breaking these traditional paradigms while working with existing systems of power. Her recent work in Mexico City combines architecture and social engineering to produce playful designs that realign hierarchy and agency.
Her public programs and installations have occupied institutions such as Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo and Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte in Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Her people-centered design practice has been recognized by Core77 Design Awards, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, NUEVO MIAMI (Bogotá), ArtCenter College of Design and WIRED Japan.
She influenced the 2017-18 Leadership Council of Emerging Arts Leaders Los Angeles as the only designer, and served as one of ten peer review members for the 2019 California Creative Communities grant panel under California Arts Council. She was awarded a research grant from the Experimental Geography Studio in University of Oklahoma for her short film Juego es Poder that asked youth to use various technology to document how they play with Mexico City.
Her network of collaborators include museum guards, skateboarders, studio and non-studio artists, Museo Tamayo, the Architectural Association (AA), SK8SCAPES, Anónima, Lúdica, Laboratorio para la Ciudad, and the 15th Council District of Los Angeles. She is fluent in Japanese and almost fluent in Spanish. She is currently finishing her MFA in Media Design from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA and holds a BA in Urban Studies & Architecture from Columbia University.
View her full CV here.
Current and upcoming projects
Peer grant reviewer, California Arts Council
California Creative Communities
Sacramento, CA (Apr 2019)
Teaching assistant, ArtCenter College of Design
Pasadena, CA + Mexico City, Mexico (Spring 2019)
Founder, Skatelab in Museo Tamayo
Mexico City, Mexico (2018 - 2019)
YouTube: Reina Imagawa
A messy list of people who inspire her.
To view her graduate studio blog, go here.