all photos by Takuya Watanabe
Shi-an is a mobile tea house constructed entirely from folded paper without the use of bolts or adhesives. The entirely free-standing structure was designed by Tokyo-based architect Kazuya Katagiri who, with the help of designer Akinori Inuzuka, came up with a method of folding a large piece of washi paper into a single interlocking unit with 2 pockets and 2 arms.
Each piece of washi paper measured about 1 x 3.3 ft (500 x 1000 mm) and was folded 8 times to create the interlocking shape. 4000 of these units were produced to create a dome-shaped teahouse titled Shi-an (紙庵, or “paper tea house”) which was installed at Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto back in 2016. “The nomadic small tea house embodies the idea of Japanese simplified beauties,” says the architect, while at the same time being reminiscent of a cellular organism, multiplying as its cells divide and grow.
As seen in the photos below, a similar structure was also presented at Art Basel Hong Kong.