Design Lead - Tokyo, Japan

Posted on: 
April 1, 2024

Are you driven to design spaces that spark creativity and foster collaboration? 

CIC seeks a visionary Design Lead to join our team, transforming commercial interiors into dynamic, multi-purpose environments. With 4-5 years of experience, bring your innovative approach to design and project delivery to spaces people love to share and work in. Join us in shaping the future of workplaces!


CIC builds and operates a global network of innovation campuses where startups, scale-ups, corporations, and public entities connect, work, and grow. Founded in 1999, CIC manages more than 111,000 square meters of innovation-focused workspace, laboratories, and event space across North America, Europe, and Asia. Additionally, CIC develops innovation-related programming, builds and enables industry clusters, and provides world-class innovation consulting.

CIC Tokyo is our first site located in Asia. Opened in October 2020 in one of the business districts of Minato-ku, CIC Tokyo is a one-of-a-kind innovation-oriented center in Japan with a total area of about 6,000 square meters on the 15th and 16th floors of the Toranomon Hills Business Tower. We provide a vast workspace with the capacity to house more than 250 companies. CIC Tokyo is centered on companies that aim to grow, and communities and services that are looking to accelerate their business growth and global expansion. Because of its influence in startup and innovation scenery, CIC Tokyo has frequent visits of VIPs such as Prime Minister Kishida, Governor Koike, and other business leaders in Japan. It is now recognized as a prestigious center of new businesses and startups by business leaders throughout the country.

Learn more about us here.


CIC's Design Lead will transform architectural concepts into stylish, memorable spaces with meticulous attention to detail. This central role in our hands-on Design Team covers the entire spectrum of project phases, from design through to opening. With CIC's rapid expansion, you'll be deeply involved in a variety of projects, including multi-floor interior build-outs, capital improvement projects, client space modifications, and major renovations within existing CIC buildings, each offering the opportunity to significantly influence our evolving spaces.

Potential responsibilities will include:

  • Absorbing and enhancing CIC's culture, crafting designs that reflect a deep understanding of our overarching aesthetic across expansion sites.
  • Leading multiple projects with varied complexity and timelines while supporting and advising fellow design team members.
  • Conducting site analyses and generating comprehensive documentation, including surveys, plans, elevations, details, and layouts, complementing external architects' work.
  • Researching and presenting colors, finishes, and materials using selection boards, skillfully manipulating design elements and ensuring selections meet local codes.
  • Overseeing project coordination and construction administration, including finished plans, specifications, material selections, RFIs, submittal reviews, and acting as a liaison among internal teams and external partners.
  • Participating in FF+E selection, specification creation, procurement, and coordinating with consultants on technical aspects like HVAC and safety, all while being mindful of budget constraints.
  • Acting as a design liaison between internal teams such as construction, operations, and sales, as well as managing relationships with external teams such as local architects, engineers, and partner companies for specific projects.


Our Design Lead excels in autonomous problem-solving and project management, adept at both independent work and teamwork, embracing adaptability and effective communication. You are someone who is skilled in building strong relationships, with experience in commercial projects and knowledge of codes. You creatively address design challenges, delivering solutions promptly within budget limits, and are confident when presenting ideas to stakeholders.


  • At least 4-5 years of professional experience in the field of design or architecture, preferably with a focus on commercial projects (not including internships).
  • Degree in interior design or architecture.
  • Fluency in AutoCad, Revit, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and/or Indesign, Sketchup, and rendering software.
  • Ability to effectively produce layouts and space plans.
  • Advanced knowledge of furnishings, materials, and unique fixtures and features; experience with branding, signage design, and wayfinding is a plus.
  • Strong 3D modeling, graphic design and presentation skills.
  • Experience with budget & cost analysis and schedule review is a plus.
  • The ability to travel (up to 20% of the time, depending on the specific project) to sites in new and existing locations.
  • Fluency in Japanese and strong English proficiency.
  • Ability to legally work in Japan. CIC is unable to sponsor visas for this role at this time.

Applicants should submit a portfolio smaller than 20mb in PDF format, showing work samples and personal projects. Samples of work completed from educational and prior work experience strongly preferred.


  • Competitive salary, adjusted to match your experience.
  • Permanent contract.
  • Commuting / Transportation allowance.
  • Massage session once a month.
  • Allocated budget for training (customized to specific requirements of the role and organization's objectives).

CIC is committed to building teams that reflect the fabric of the cities we support. We welcome all candidates regardless of race, color, ancestry, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, Veteran status, or any other legally protected status. Any other human expressions and experiences not mentioned here are equally welcome. If you require an accommodation please let us know. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

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