MTRL Kyoto: a 120-year old studio converted into a coworking space

the co-working space MTRL Kyoto (photos courtesy Fumihiko Sano)

Need an hour, a day, or even longer to work on a creative project, or make a presentation to a client? If you’re based in Kyoto you’re in luck because just the space exists. MTRL Kyoto is a co-working space that packs laser cutters, 3D printers and other tools, as well as meeting rooms that seat 10, 30 and 40 people.

MTRL Kyoto opened a little over a year ago in December of 2015. The co-working space occupies a large, 3-story building along a backstreet off Kawahara-Gojo in Kyoto. In a previous life the space was once a print factory, and also a furniture shop. But it was reborn at MTRL Kyoto thanks to architect Fumihiko Sano, who explained that one of his primary goals was to embrace the original charm of this old building.

The original structure was built in giyofu, a style if Japanese architecture that mimicked Western-style architecture. Sano preserved much of the braided bamboo plaster walls and added traditional latticework on the ground floor, which emulates its local Kyoto surroundings but also allows pedestrians to peer inside.

detail of the preserved bamboo walls

the cafe counter on the ground floor

For creatives looking for flexible work or presentation spaces, MTRL Kyoto is available beginning at just 500 yen for 45 min. Or you can stay and work the whole day for just 1800 yen. Additional costs apply for the various printers, cutters and other tools, which can be reserved ahead of time if, for example, you know you need to make a prototype.

the 1st floor lounge seats up to 40

And the space has the word “material” in its name for a reason. “At MTRL we’ve collected a broad and continuously expanding catalogue of materials, from traditional Japanese woods, metals, fabrics, and papers to the latest sensors, modules and other new technology. The most exciting part for us, though, is seeing how those materials change and become objects in the hands of creators and designers.”

Jealous? A similar space opened in Tokyo in mid-2016. Both are run and operated by Loftwork, who also operates the FabCafes.

stairs lead up to the 2nd floor

the 2nd floor work space seats up to 30

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