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    Td-Atelier and Endo Shorijo Design transform interior of traditional machiya house in Kyoto

    Japanese design studios Td-Atelier and Endo Shorijo Design have renovated a century-old machiya townhouse in Kyoto with minimal interiors that intend to honour the home’s existing architecture.

    Called House in Marutamachi, the Japanese house was built over 120 years ago and is arranged across two floors on a long and narrow site.
    House in Marutamachi is a traditional machiya house in KyotoTucked between two other residential properties, the house is an example of the wooden machiya townhouses that were once common in Japan’s historical capital Kyoto but are now at risk of going extinct.
    “Traditional Kyoto townhouses are being destroyed at a pace of 800 houses a year,” Td-Atelier explained.
    “Old buildings don’t match modern life. However, we want to stop the decline of Kyoto townhouses by fusing tradition, design and new life.”

    The kitchen is encased in a white volumeTd-Atelier and Endo Shorijo Design dressed House in Marutamachi’s interior with new components including sleek tiles and geometric furniture alongside materials reused from the original house, as seen in the traditional team room.
    The studios retained the building’s wooden columns and beams but added white volumes to house rooms including the kitchen and study to avoid disturbing the existing architecture with harsh structural materials.
    The tea room was constructed using materials reused from the original buildingThese variously sized cubes were designed to mimic the contrasting heights of buildings in a cityscape.
    “The gaps and omissions created between the volume group and the existing columns, beams, walls and floors create continuity in the space,” Td-Atelier said.

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    Throughout the house, Td-Atelier and Endo Shorijo Design adopted a minimal material and colour palette including a combination of light and dark woods alongside smooth concrete.
    A thin, sculptural light is suspended above the timber breakfast bar on the second floor, where occupants can sit on clusters of subtle-coloured stools.
    Original features were maintained in the gardenOutside, a plant-filled garden features elements from the building’s original architecture such as sandy-hued lanterns and a chōzubachi – a traditional stone water bowl historically used for washing hands before a tea ceremony.
    House in Marutamachi was shortlisted for house interior of the year at the 2022 Dezeen Awards.
    Dezeen recently announced the winners of this year’s interiors categories, who are now competing to win the overall interiors project of the year award.
    The photography is by Matsumura Kohei.

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    Fourteen Stones Design revamps Tokyo warehouse into “coffee gastronomy” cafe

    Tokyo-based Fourteen Stones Design has designed the Koffee Mameya Kakeru cafe for barista Eiichi Kunitomo in a former water transportation hub in Kiyosumi Shirakawa.

    Set in the Kiyosumi Shirakawa area of Tokyo, the coffee shop occupies a warehouse which Fourteen Stones Design renovated and extended “to preserve the appearance of the old warehouse as much as possible”.
    Koffee Mameya Kakeru is in an old warehouseThe studio removed the shutters from the front of the warehouse, adding a glass facade. The rest of the building, including the interiors, remains as it was – with minimal repairs made to the walls.
    It aimed “to make everyday coffee an extraordinary experience” with a full “course of coffee” served by baristas and the renovation has been designed to facilitate this.
    The white oak structure frames the coffee barA staggered rectangular frame of white oak at the entrance of the cafe, which echoes the coffee package design, dominates the interior space and provides a central visual motif for the scheme.

    This frame divides the entrance space from the main cafe where a U-shaped bar surrounding the barista workstations was placed.

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    The barista’s workbenches, which were made from black granite, were deliberately placed at the centre of the space to create “a stage set-up, which enables baristas to fully demonstrate their skills”.
    Besides the new seating area, restrooms, a kitchen, a laboratory and office space have all been renovated.
    Baristas work at black granite counters
    The service and bar countertops were made from “Jura Yellow” limestone. Featuring fossils from the Jura period, it was chosen for its texture and also for allusions to the passage of time – not only echoed in the coffee growing, roasting and brewing processes but also the journey of the brand from its inception 10 years ago.
    Fourteen Stones Design’s Yosuke Hayashi designed the custom furniture for the cafe in the same white oak as the frame structure. It was manufactured by Japanese company E&Y for the project.
    The space aims to create a “gastronomic experience” for coffee drinkersThe cafe’s owner Kunitomo believes baristas “act as a bridge between the customer and the roastery” and should be given “a social status comparable to that of a sommelier”.
    Baristas at Koffee Mameya Kakeru will serve single cups of coffee through to full courses of coffee, “elevated by the newly designed space to the realm of gastronomy”, according to the practice.
    Fourteen Stones Design has been shortlisted in the restaurant and bar interior category of this year’s Dezeen Awards. Other projects in the running include a rattan restaurant in Bangkok by Enter Projects Asia Co. and YODEZEEN’s Japanese restaurant in Kyiv’s city centre.
    The photography is by Ooki Jingu.

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    Ginza Ecological Map designed by Hakuten presents the “hidden story of Ginza”

    Design studio Hakuten has created a three-dimensional map of Ginza, Tokyo, that presents the ecology that exists in the district.

    The Ginza Ecological Map, which was featured in the Japanese makeup brand Shiseido’s Hakuten’s window, was designed to “carefully express the impression of the location and the history of the city, with a hidden story of Ginza”.
    The map showcased the local ecology in the areaIt spotlighted the natural elements found throughout the district, including samples of trees, plants, insects and earth, with the intention of enhancing the local community’s knowledge of its district’s ecology. Each item was presented in one of 72 windows – similarly to how scientific specimens are exhibited in museums.
    The exhibition ran throughout 2021 and across two themes: Organisms, which presented insects and cuttings from plants, and Earth – showcasing the diversity of soils found throughout the district.
    Parts of the glothistle plant were arranged in a clock-like motif to represent the district’s Wako clock tower”We care­fully displayed this ecology in the window as if they were scientific specimens,” said Hakuten.

    “The exhibition ran throughout the year across two different ecological themes – Organisms and Earth – and brought to light a new and beautiful Ginza that had not been seen before in the form of the Ginza Ecology Map.”
    Ginkgo biloba trees were planted in Ginza in 1906The materials were collected during a number of fieldwork studies in addition to the knowledge gained from speaking to people local to Ginza. Once collected, the items were exhibited in creative ways with the aim of becoming a tool to communicate the connection between Ginza’s natural world and society.
    For example, the plant named glothistle was collected from under the city’s Wako clock tower, and as part of the exhibition was displayed in a clock-like motif to represent it.

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    In addition, the district’s ginkgo biloba trees were planted in 1906, and according to the designers, they represent a “turning point for modernisation in the city”.
    As a nod to the tree’s heritage in the district, images of Ginza’s buildings were printed onto the collected ginkgo tree leaves as part of the exhibition.
    The exhibition showcased a number of plants and insects”Unlike most window displays that show objects and installations that only suit its occasion, not only did Ginza Ecological Map provide a new perspective of Ginza city, but through research from local residents it also expanded into a communication tool between the city and the people,” said Hakuten.
    “By looking at the usually unseen ecology that exists in a metropolis, we were able to rethink the relationship between the city, people, and nature in an attempt to approach a more sustainable society.”
    Earth was collected as part of the exhibitionAs part of the Earth theme, the colour of the soil across the district was documented, including samples collected from sidewalk ditches and from around various plants such as dogwood and camellia.
    The exhibition also shed light on creating a number of creative resources from the city’s soil – including pottery and crayons – and clothing dyed using local plant’s pigments.
    The map featured in the Japanese brand Shiseido’s windowAccording to the studio, the pandemic provided the opportunity to reflect on the human-nature relationship as Ginza was “emptied” because of the pandemic.
    The project was conceived of this change, and aimed to rethink the district’s approach towards creating a society more mindful of enhancing and protecting its nature.
    The exhibition also presented the ways in which local plant pigments can be used as textile dye”In Covid-19 where we were provided with more opportunities to deeply reflect upon the global environment, this project allowed us to rethink the relationship between the city, people, and nature in an attempt to approach a more sustainable society,” said Hakuten.
    Ginza Ecological Map has been shortlisted in the exhibition design category at this year’s Dezeen Awards alongside, Weird Sensation Feels Good – The World of ASMR, Greenwood Rising: Black Wall Street History Center exhibition and Journey of the Pioneers.

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    Semba Corporation creates own office interior from reclaimed materials

    Interior construction firm Semba Corporation has renovated the interior of its headquarters in Tokyo to include reclaimed materials discarded during the demolition of other offices.

    The company’s redesign of its own office interior is shortlisted in the sustainable interior category for the upcoming Dezeen Awards, which will announce its winners next month.
    The interior is made from materials salvaged from demolished officesCalled Semba Good Ethical Office, the project features various pared-back tables, seating and shelving created from materials salvaged from previous office demolitions.
    This furniture is positioned across a single open-plan space in Japan’s capital, which is brightly illuminated by overhead lighting and rectilinear windows.
    Plinth-like seating and stairs forms a centrepieceA plinth-like centrepiece takes the form of both a staircase and a designated desk area, which was formed from boxy arrangements of surplus wood and old filing cabinets.

    Semba Corporation centred the interiors around two principles – “ethical” and “hackable” design – in order to complete the project, the company said.
    Semba Corporation applied its own design principles to the project”To incorporate ‘ethical design’, a circular interior design [theory], into the office renovation, we mined materials from unnecessary stuff generated by office demolitions,” Semba Corporation told Dezeen.
    “Under the theme of ‘hackable design’, we can redefine our working style and attitudes. We completely renovated our office to be friendly to the Earth, people and society,” explained the firm.
    Reconstituted foam was used to create padding on benchesAccording to the company, 80 per cent of the furniture in the Semba Good Ethical Office is reused, while the office achieved a waste-recycling rate of 99 per cent.
    Reconstituted foam was used to create the padding on benches that make up informal meeting booths, while various offcuts of wood were used to construct geometric shelves throughout the interior.

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    Semba Corporation explained that it hopes that other firms will begin to adopt similar design principles when creating their office interiors.
    “Especially in Japan, the lifespan from construction to demolition and disposal has become very short since [increasing] economic growth, and waste has been dumped in landfill,” the firm said.
    “However, Japanese culture has originally valued attachment to things and has an aesthetic sense to continue to use them with creative ideas. So I think our principles have an affinity to that culture.”
    “We hope that ‘ethical design,’ a future-friendly interior design, will be a basic principle in interior design for the future.”
    Reclaimed wood was used to form various shelvingSemba Good Ethical Office joins a group of existing self-designed studios that other firms have created to be more sustainable than the average office, according to the companies.
    These include German studio Urselmann Interior’s renovation of its studio to include biodegradable, recycled or upcycled materials.
    The images are courtesy of Semba Corporation.

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    Domino Architects divides reusable sales showroom with fabric walls

    Sheer curtains that look like translucent walls were used to divide up the structure of this temporary showroom space in Japan created by Domino Architects.

    Shortlisted in the large retail interiors category of Dezeen Awards 2022, PROUD Gallery Gotanda aims to offer a solution to the wasteful practice of producing condominium showrooms – temporary structures near new developments that are used as a base for sales teams.
    The showroom was created by Domino ArchitectsThe showrooms, which are usually built and then demolished within a matter of years once the units are all sold, typically contain a customer reception and seating area, as well as rooms for meetings and presentations. These are all styled with the target customer in mind.
    “It’s like a theme park with effects to motivate people to buy,” said the architecture studio.
    “As entertainment, it is very interesting, but we wonder if this method of spending a large amount of energy each time is really appropriate for this age.”

    Arches were constructed using mesh curtainsDomino Architects worked with HAKUTEN and Nozomi Kume from Studio Onder de Linde to create a more sustainable alternative for Nomura Real Estate Development and its PROUD condominium brand in Tokyo.
    Built using the prefabricated skeleton structure of an existing Nomura showroom, the layout of PROUD Gallery Gotanda is easy to change, expand and reconstruct.

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    The steel structure is wrapped with light curtains while the partitions inside the business meeting space are made from “foldable walls”, which are curtains with a wall-like thickness.
    These foldable walls have arched openings and can be repositioned so that the layout can be easily changed according to purpose.
    “By carefully examining the sheen, curves, and colour overlap of the curtains, we were able to create an elegant and light space that does not feel like a rugged prefabricated structure,” the studio said.
    The arches can be moved and repositionedThe materials and samples used in the planned condominiums are subtly incorporated into the interior as part of the showroom’s furniture and fixtures.
    The idea is to allow the buyer to imagine a space rather than be entirely dictated to.
    In Amsterdam, design studio Beyond Space has created an office interior in Amsterdam that uses rippling laser-cut fabric to form cave-like spaces for working.
    The photography is by Gottingham.

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    OEO Studio adds Nordic influences to Japandi-style apartment in Tokyo

    Copenhagen-based OEO Studio combined muted colours and textured materials to create the interiors for this renovated Tokyo apartment that is characterised by its Japandi design.

    Located within the Opus Arisugawa housing complex in central Tokyo, the apartment’s interior was renovated to combine design influences from Japan and Scandinavia – a trend known as Japandi.
    The apartment’s interiors take cues from Japanese and Scandinavian designOEO Studio intended to create a serene atmosphere by adopting minimalist interior design and mainly natural materials throughout, both of which are hallmarks of the Japandi style.
    The apartment’s entryway includes a rammed-earth wall surrounded by a slatted rectilinear wardrobe that was custom-made in calming honey-hued wood.
    Curvy sofas feature in the living roomLow-slung concrete seating is also built into the hallway, which doubles as a sculptural plinth for a ceramic vase by Christian Bruun.

    A mixture of deep indigo tiles and paper yarn rugs made from Finnish birch but embroidered with Japanese textile-style patterns cover the floors.
    Wooden cabinetry lines the kitchen”The interiors reflect the studio’s cross-pollination of Japanese and Scandinavian design ideas, drawing inspiration from both cultures and reinterpreting them in new ways,” said the firm.
    The hallway leads to an open-plan living room filled with interiors in neutral tones, including cool stone floors and sleek furniture finished in smoked oak, oiled pinewood and soft wool.

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    Curvy Taylor sofas by Shanghai brand Stella Works are arranged around an organically shaped timber coffee table, while artworks by Jaakko Mattila line the walls.
    Japanese Ōya stone was used for the columns that divide the living area and brightly lit kitchen, which includes tactile wooden cabinetry.
    A minimal dining space with black-stained ash chairs also features alongside the kitchen.
    The bedrooms are defined by the same refined styleThe apartment’s three bedrooms also have a mixture of refined textures and shapes, while the singular pared-back bathroom displays a statement wooden bathtub at its centre.
    “We worked carefully with the zoning and the transitions between the rooms in the apartment to create an evocative yet calm, welcoming and comfortable atmosphere,” said OEO Studio.
    A light wooden bathtub features in the bathroomFounded in 2003, OEO Studio has created a number of similar projects including a Tokyo restaurant that references both Danish carpentry and Japanese gardens in its interiors.
    The firm recently created a cafe and shop at Designmuseum Denmark that pays homage to architect Kaare Klint’s original design.
    The photography is by Michinori Aoki.

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    Yuko Nagayama & Associates creates trapezoidal glasses shop and community hub

    Tokyo studio Yuko Nagayama & Associates has completed a copper-clad eyewear store for brand JINS in Maebashi, Japan, which contains a cafe and rooftop terrace.

    Named JINS Park, the shop in Gunma Prefecture was designed to act as a space for the community to gather whether they are shopping in the store or not.
    Yuko Nagayama & Associates has created a glasses shop in Maebashi”We proactively created public spaces that are not part of the sales floor, which encourages community members to come for reasons other than shopping,” the studio explained.
    “In stores of this type, the second floor is typically not open to customers, [we] utilised it as a terrace and also included a bakery-cafe in the store.”
    The shop contains a cafeYuko Nagayama & Associates envisions the space being used as an indoor community plaza with food and coffee served along with glasses being sold.

    A large triangular staircase divides the space in two, with the glasses store located on one side and the cafe on the other.
    The large central stairs lead to a first floor terraceThe widening staircase, under which the cafe’s servery and the shop’s consultation rooms are located, leads to an additional seating area and a triangular, outdoor terrace.
    This space is intended as another community area, offering benches and a generous amount of open space where children can run around.
    Timber units were used to display glassesBroadly lit by floor-to-ceiling windows with the roof supported by angled columns, the interior is broken up by a number of freestanding timber units.
    For the eyewear shop, these are used to display the glasses on sale, while for the cafe they contain pastries and other food
    The trapezoidal building is topped with a roof terraceThe trapezoidal building is topped with a sulphurised-copper facade that was designed to mimic the reddish-brown Mount Akagi that can be seen from the shop.
    Visitors approach JINS Park through a neatly landscaped garden, before being greeted by the central fan-shaped staircase which provides seating with views of the store, garden, and street.

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    “We began by reversing the typical layout of roadside stores, with a parking lot located in front, and instead located the parking lot behind the building,” said Yuko Nagayama & Associates.
    “As the landscaping matures and the copper facade blends more fully into its surroundings, we hope the store will become part of everyday life in the neighbourhood,” said the studio.
    The ground level opens onto relaxed outdoor spacesRecent glasses shops featured on Dezeen include Stephanie Thatenhorst’s playful pattern-filled interior for a children’s opticians in Munich and a shop clad in colourful sheets of locally sourced plastic waste by sustainable materials company Plasticiet and Amsterdam eyewear company Ace & Tate.
    Other recent developments include eyewear stores by Child Studio for Cubitts, a company that asks for each shop to be designed in a unique style that reflects the history of its local neighbourhood. The studio’s Leeds store is inspired by Victorian joinery, whilst another store is based on Soho’s colourful postwar reputation.
    The photography is by Daici Ano and Tomoyuki Kusunose.

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    Jorge Almazán creates minimal broken-plan interior for House in Honjo

    Suspended ceilings and unnecessary partition walls were removed in this minimalist revamp of a house in Japan’s Saitama Prefecture, designed by Jorge Almazán Architects.

    House in Honjo was previously divided into rooms and corridors, which made it feel small and cramped.
    Removing walls created a more open ground floorArchitect Jorge Almazán and his team designed a new ground-floor layout that removed as many partition walls as possible, creating a continuous living space that offers a greater feeling of spaciousness.
    The new layout is broken-plan rather than open-plan; the space is loosely divided up into different zones by the few remaining partition walls, and a few custom furniture pieces.
    The remaining partition walls create a broken-plan layoutAs well as creating extra head height, the removal of the suspended ceiling boards reveals the steel structural beams and wooden joists, giving the home a more utilitarian feel.

    House in Honjo is home to a fashion critic who recently relocated from Tokyo for work.
    Although the 163-square-metre property did not meet her requirements, the location was convenient for her job. She asked Almazán to redesign the 97-square-metre ground floor, leaving the rest of the building intact.
    A suspended ceiling was removed to reveal structural beams”Her home had to be spacious and filled with natural light, as well as a place where she could hold family and friend gatherings,” explained Jorge Almazán Architects.
    The new broken-plan living space incorporates an entrance hall, a lounge, a dining space and a kitchen organised around an island.
    Privacy can be created by placing more items on the shelvesInformed by the client’s interest in fashion, Almazán added different material textures to each space. The kitchen features a stainless steel worktop, the dining area centres around a marble table, and the lounge features white leather upholstery.
    “Each element is ‘dressed’ with a distinctive tactile and visual experience,” said the studio.
    A new window was added in the loungeWood features heavily throughout. The flooring is birch wood, while plywood lines the walls and provides furniture, including shelves and sideboards that act as space dividers.
    More or less privacy can be created by adding or removing elements from the shelving that separates the lounge and the dining area from the entrance hall.

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    Flexibility was considered throughout. The lounge furniture can be easily moved to create room for exercise or, in the future, children’s play space, while the dining table is designed to also function as a workspace.
    Underfloor heating ensures that the space will stay comfortable during Saitama’s notoriously cold winters, while the more open layout creates more opportunities for cross ventilation in the warmer summer months.
    A plywood sideboard creates a natural space dividerA new window was installed to increase the volume of natural light in the lounge space, with a window sill that is deep enough to allow space for pot plants, while a skylight was added in the hallway.
    A new toilet and utility room was also created as part of the renovation, which helps to rationalise the layout at the rear of the ground floor.
    Plywood also lines the walls of the renovated living spacesHouse in Honjo “has proved to be especially suited for the new domestic conditions imposed by the pandemic,” noted Jorge Almazán Architects.
    “The comfort of natural light and ventilation, the rich tactility of its surfaces, and the spatial openness and versatility have allowed this renovated house to become an enjoyable interior oasis.”
    Plants can be displayed on the deep window sillsHome renovations are less common in Japan than other countries, as rebuilding is usually the preferred option.
    Japanese real estate firm Goodlife recently set out to change this, with the renovation of a compact apartment in Tokyo. Other recent examples include a minimally furnished flat in Nagoya.
    Photography is by Montse Zamorano.
    Project credits
    Architect: Jorge Almazán ArchitectsDesign team: Jorge Almazán, Javier Celaya, Gaku Inoue, Rumi Okazaki.Contractor (interior and furniture): Shibata Kenchiku Design RoomElectricity: Uchimura DenkiKitchen manufacturer: Kitazawa Kitchen

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