Nature's teachings— Hakone


Dai Nippon Printing’s new training centre, by architect Kenya Ishihara, was designed to inspire its employees. With a spa and views of Mount Fuji, it seems more like a retreat than a place of work but with this incentive we bet the staff never miss a training day.

Dai Nippon, Kenya Ishihara, Mount Fuji

Rows of anonymous grey desks, strip lighting and windowless box rooms: an unwritten corporate rule has long dictated that training centres should embrace unimaginative design in a non- descript setting. But a recently opened training centre in Japan has thrown the rulebook out of the window with the creation of a space that embodies a new generation of corporate design.

Set on the forested volcanic slopes of Hakone with close-up views of Mount Fuji, the building was commissioned by Dai Nippon Printing, a major printing company established more than…

About DNP

Since establishing itself as Japan’s first full-scale printing firm in 1876, Dai Nippon Printing has become a household name. Its services have diversified to include packaging, printing magazines and books, electronic components and information media supplies. With more than 38,000 staff, the provision of training – in inspiring surroundings – is clearly top of its agenda. Since “Hakone Training Center Number 2” opened its doors last June, more than 1,000 staff have visited. The centre is also available for hire by DNP’s 30,000 customer companies.

Employee verdict

Sumio Iwanami (44)

Assistant general manager of education and training department

“I come here once a month to take seminars and it’s very different from conventional venues. With all this open space, I feel like I’m taking a seminar in the middle of nature. It’s a very inspiring setting.”

Takajyu Nogi (49)

A general sales manager in publication printing operations, taking part in a seminar on sales

“It is very different being here compared to daily office life. It’s extremely peaceful and makes me want to sit quietly and reflect on my life. It’s giving me confidence to go back to the city with fresh ideas.”


Taiji Fujimori

Fujimori, who studied under Teruaki Ohashi, set up his three-staff furniture design practice in Meguro 11 years ago. New projects include the recent launch of a series of office furnishings as well as a paper project exhibited at Roppongi’s Axis gallery and the interior redesign of the dining area at Tokyo Zokei University.


0:00:00 0:01:00

Drag me