Who is he? The avuncular, 60-year-old boss of Japanese design firm Super Potato who is on a global mission to liberate interior design from the tyranny of 'boring modernist straight lines'. Super Potato? It's been Sugimoto's nickname since childhood, and perhaps an odd moniker for one of Japan's most successful design exports. The company boasts a bulging portfolio of prestigious international hotel, restaurant and retail projects from Hong Kong to Las Vegas. Where can I see his work? Take your pick: he designed Cafe TOO in Hong Kong's Island Shangri-La Hotel, the Park Hyatt Seoul, the Grand Hyatt Singapore's Mezza9 restaurant, Square One restaurant in the Park Hyatt Saigon, the Muji department store chain, London's Zuma bar and the Sensi restaurant in Las Vegas' Bellagio hotel. Anything else? The firm built the 15,000-square-foot Shinto Shrine in Roppongi Hills' Grand Hyatt Tokyo. Couples can exchange vows there, sandwiched between the obscenely expensive black granite floor and the rosewood ceiling; or in the Sugimoto-designed western chapel in the same hotel. A busy man, then. In addition to dozens of jobs in Japan, the firm has recently completed several international design projects, including upmarket Japanese restaurant Nadaman (right) at the Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai. Sugimoto also teaches design at Musashino Art University in Tokyo twice a week. What does he do for fun? Chain-smokes. What's the defining feature of his work? He creates an unconventional mixture of elegance and drama: a typically minimalist, clean and ordered Japanese design aesthetic juxtaposed with odd, sometimes jarring, features. The Sugimoto-designed My City project in Tokyo's new Shiodome complex, for instance, mixes traditional stonework with recycled wood and computer parts salvaged from skips across Tokyo. Cafe TOO features 'clay pots, cast-iron woks and bamboo juxtaposed with stainless-steel pots, pans and graters'. And Square One contrasts raw and primitive materials with shiny and modern touches. Wise words: 'The first thing I tell my students is: design less. People over-design everything. Like food that has been over-flavoured, it spoils what is good and natural about it.'