men and women all in black formal workwear standing in a large room talking with each other
(Image credit: TBC)

As a third generation Japanese Brazilian, on completing his studies in architecture in Curitiba, Yabiku had the urge to go to Japan for a year. One year turned to 10, in which time he went from working on a building site to being a partner at Foster and Partners Tokyo office. When that closed in 1997, Yabiku came to the London office.

So how do you like London?

Well, I came here by chance but I feel like I belong. In summer, in London, I see Brazil everywhere, especially in the pubs if I am with friends. The noisy, vibrant atmosphere reminds me of the Brazil I knew 20 years ago. People in London are very friendly- it's warm.

What do you miss about Brazil?

Everything. It's my dream to return there one day! I come from a very close family in Maringa near Curitiba and I want to be closer to them. I think I have become more Brazilian since I left. I think of it as a country full of love and passion.

What are you working on?

Recently, three projects in the Middle East have been occupying most of my time - the Index building in Dubai, and the Central Market Souk and Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi. Now that these are near completion, and with the opportunities opening up in Brazil, I am getting the chance to go back more often. I would love to open an office there one day.

How has being Brazilian shaped your aesthetic?

Our sense of colour is very different; growing up in Brazil gives you an appreciation for colour that is not innate in British culture. When I go back to Brazil, I look at my clothes and I feel they are very dark and make me look very old!

Emma O'Kelly is a freelance journalist and author based in London. Her books include Sauna: The Power of Deep Heat and she is currently working on a UK guide to wild saunas, due to be published in 2025.