Category — Architecture
If I lived in Hiroshima I would love to send my kids to Tsukushi Nursery School, an adorable little daycare center shaped like a peanut. The form was conceived by overlapping 2 circles to create a fluid space connected to the environment, explains architect Hiroshi Ueda, who completed the new structure last year. The idea of peanut-shaped architecture serving as shelter for premature, evolving life, is also a nice metaphor.
The timber structure is also designed to directly expose the young learners to elements of nature like and the different seasons. Almost like a forest in itself, the space has inclines where children can explore the semi-outdoor space.
June 18, 2013 No Comments
Yasunari Tsukada established his Osaka design firm in 2012 and tackled his first independent project renovating a residential home.
Tsukada was tasked with creating a 2-generation family home that would give the family a sense of togetherness, while at the same time providing a calm and relaxed space for the members to still shave some sense of privacy. The house has a very open design with most of the common rooms without doors but rather “openings” and no ceiling. Tsukada explains that all of the rooms have at least two windows, providing a lot of natural light during the day and continuing the open feel throughout the home.
source: Yasunari Tsukada
June 17, 2013 No Comments
“The Ainus worship nature and believe a spirit resides in every single tree.”
If there’s one area of Japan that’s booming it’s the Niseko region of Hokkaido. Their world-class powdery snow, which continuously lands them on top ski resort lists like this one, has generated a flurry (get it?) of tourism and investment activity. So it comes as no surprise that last year One Niseko hired world-class architect Kengo Kuma to give them a much-needed facelift.
But with major companies like Hilton and West Paces pouring money into the region and rebranding hotels and villages with their name, Kengo Kuma decided it was important to maintain local identity.
Paying homage to the indigenous Ainu tradition of using the entire body of wood for their homes, Kuma used hundreds of large slabs of wood, paneling them throughout the interior and exterior of the hotel. In the lobby area the slits even act as magazine racks. “We wanted a space that is deeply related to the history of this place – the culture of Ainu,” says Kuma. “The Ainus worship nature and believe a spirit resides in every single tree.”
May 14, 2013 Comments Off
“When people have too many choices, they make bad choices”
It was an exciting day in Japan’s fashion industry 2 months ago when Thom Browne and his characteristically unique American style arrived, officially, in Japan in the form of a flagship store in Aoyama. Located on the posh Miyuki-dori and surrounded by luminaries like Acne Studios and Mackintosh, the grey, windowless, marble-clad fortress is Browne’s first foray overseas. The only window, in fact, as a narrow, intimidating entrance.
The 3-story structure is a full-service boutique offering menswear (1st floor) womenswear (2nd floor) and a made-to-order room in the basement where you can sip a 1996 vintage Dom Pérignon from a tumbler while your measurements are taken. And the style of the building is consistent with the overall theme of his original shop: a late 1950s – early 1960s office where Don Draper types were running around with tie clips and briefcases making business deals. Browne’s vision came to life thanks to Masamichi Katayama from Wonderwall.
Browne attributes his dapper look to his father and his chic, effortless, “midcentury cool” design philosophy may very well be best summed up by this simple quote: “When people have too many choices, they make bad choices.”
To complete the continental mid-century look are a series of furniture hand-picked from shops like Jacques Adnet, Dunbar, Maison Jansen and Gio Ponti.
It’s no surprise that Browne chose Tokyo for his first overseas flagship store. While going from near-obscurity to appearing in Wes Anderson films, runways in Milan and being selected by Michelle Obama to design her dress to be worn to her husband’s inauguration, Browne was quickly gaining momentum in Japan.
In 2001 Browne left Club Monaco to launch his own label. But by 2010, when Browne was still working out of a tiny, appointment-only shop, his sales in Japan were rivaling his biggest success story – Bergdorf Goodman. In 2011 Browne also collaborated with Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garcons.
Celebrities and models like Kiko Mizuhara, Kankuro Nakamura, Verbal and Takumi Saito turned out for the opening where Browne noted that he hopes to create an actual experience, rather than just a retail experience. He also spoke of the importance of this Tokyo flagship as a hub for Thom Browne New York style in Asia and the rest of the world.
Attendees had the chance to pick up a limited design button-down (50,400 yen) inscribed with the opening line of one of Browne’s favorite poems: The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
May 6, 2013 Comments Off
Makoto Tanijiri and his design firm Suppose Design Office have created a new office space in Shibuya for Zappallas, a provider of mobile content like horoscopes, games and e-commerce solutions. The company has been on a steep incline of expansion ever since it was founded – miraculously – at the height of the dot-com bubble in March 2000. After expanding, and then expanding again, the company finally outgrew its digs in Ebisu and decided to find a new space for their close-to-200 employees.
In order to foster a creative and inspiring workspace, the company merged their previous open, park-like layout and applied a DIY theme that manifests itself things like furniture and lighting. Plenty of exposed plywood (bookshelves, coatracks, lighting) and makeshift tables help break the mold of the typical Japanese office space.
A porch-like space encourages engagement and freedom. Sometimes people pitch tents here and work inside when they need to concentrate. There’s even a “Mother’s Working Room” where moms can bring their kids to the office and work without disturbing coworkers.
May 3, 2013 1 Comment
Earlier this year Google announced that YouTube Space Tokyo, the company’s third global production facility, would open following its 1st location in London and 2nd in LA last year. Located in Roppongi Hills, the free collaborative production space was designed by Tokyo-based Klein Dytham Architecture (KDa).
Following a similar (and highly successful) approach to T-Site, in which they used tessellated Ts to adorn the walls, KDa incorporated the red TV-screen-like logo into their designs. Red lacquered ceramic tiles line the walls of the reception, which fades to lighter hues in other spaces to create consistency. Clear branding was an obvious consideration as the logo even takes the form of wooden shelving in the kitchen.
The production studio, which includes 3 studios, equipment, a training/screening room, a café, and post-production resources, began accepting applicants in April.
We built the YouTube Space Tokyo as a way to support the incredible wave of Japanese creativity we have seen develop among our YouTube Partners over the last few years. The Space is an investment in these creators to support their quest to make even better videos and build even bigger global audiences.
-Google VP Tom Pickett, in a statement.
This is a big step for google, whose headquarters are also in the Mori Tower. Last year the company brought on 13 new media partners – amongst them heavyweights like Fuji TV and TBS.
What’s impressive is that KDa managed to fit fully equipped production studios into regular office spaces.
In the past, production studios required high ceilings to prevent the hot lighting rigs literally cooking performers. Modern LED lights, however, are cool and can be used in the space offered by high-rise office floors.
- KDa, in their press release
April 25, 2013 1 Comment
It’s no secret that the city of Tokyo poses some of the toughest architectural challenges. With a population density that trumps every other metropolitan city in the world and land prices at a premium, architects are forced to get creative. That’s exactly what architect Kozo Yamamoto did when a client came to him and requested an “open house” with a courtyard and roof terrace.
“Standing on the empty lot and carefully observing ‘open’ spots around it, we began to naturally envision the best locations for the courtyard and roof terrace,” says Yamamoto. This was tricky because the site was located in an area with lax zoning laws, sandwich between buildings of varying heights including a 5-story apartment building.
Quite literally thinking out of the box, Yamamoto came up with plans for a triangular courtyard, an L-shaped terrace and a loft space that sits above the kitchen on the first floor. “We made sure that openings are placed at an appropriate height and location so that they can open up the house towards outside while keeping privacy.”
April 19, 2013 1 Comment
unless otherwise noted all photos by Ayaka Umeda | click to enlarge
Like a breath of fresh air – and most certainly an appearance – a new crafts store featuring handmade and vintage home wares opened in the Sumiyoshi district of Osaka earlier this year. An eclectic mix of Scandinavian staples like Arabia, Finel and Almedahls (sprinkled with a healthy dose of Moomin) meets local potters and wood workers. And a beautiful boutique shopping experience awaits as visitors are welcomed into this cozy, sun-drenched shop draped with pastel fabric curtains. The experience is akin to something like walking into a friend’s house and saying, “why yes. I’ll take that, that and a pair of these.” (But you have to pay for them.)
April 18, 2013 1 Comment
all images courtesy japan-architects | click to enlarge
Fascinated and inspired by the way metal chain armor retains its shape and form, architect and professor Ken Yokogawa began investigating the architectural properties of the phenomenon. Two years, 7000 wooden cubes and 36,000 screw-in hooks later, his structure, which he calls an inverted question-cube, is complete, thanks to the help of fellow professor Jun Sato and students from their Nihon University of Science and Technology.
The 60 mm (about 2.3”) cubes are linked together by tiny screw-in hooks on each corner, but otherwise the structure is completely free-standing. It’s a balancing act that, although required numerous attempts of trial-and-error, resulted in an organic structure that’s as beautiful as it is precarious. It’s on display through May 14, 2013 at the Nihon University of Science and Technology Surugadai Campus in Tokyo.
April 17, 2013 1 Comment
One man’s castle is another man’s garbage. Or at least that’s the way it goes in Japan’s housing market where a postwar “Scrap and build” policy has resulted in average home lifespans of just 30 years. Only about 13% of all housing sales are pre-owned homes, compared with about 78% in the U.S.
But now an aging population and an imbalance between homes and families has made the government jump ship, reversing their policy and offering incentives for home renovations. And thanks to a popular TV show called “Before After,” the general public seems to be warming up to the idea of renovation as well. But it certainly helps when a beautiful example comes along and helps you visualize the potential of, say, a derelict warehouse.
Keiichi Kiriyama is a young architect who worked under Makoto Tanijiri and went on to establish his own studio – aptly titled Airhouse – in 2009. In 2012 he renovated a warehouse in the suburban district of Yoro (Gifu prefecture), not too far from the industrial city of Nagoya. Previously used to house farming equipment, Kiriyama injected a dose of calm by inserting a large loft that houses a bedroom and 2 bathrooms.
The loft space above for the kids overlooks the entire home. A major focal point is the kitchen which was designed specifically for the food-loving couple.
March 26, 2013 Comments Off