Most people see Japan as the land of minimalist living, but this unusual house by Yo Shimada at Tato Architects may well be more in tune with the messy reality of modern family life.
Externally, this house in the Miyamoto area of Osaka looks like a unadorned blank box hemmed in by other buildings, but the interior is anything but conventional. The architect's brief was to create a home for a couple and their child which maximises space with as much openness as possible. Instead of a typical two-floor multi-room layout, the architect eschewed all internal walls and ceilings and built 13 suspended "floors" on 7 levels instead. These (mostly triangular) floors are connected to each other with open steps arranged around two spirals, creating a dynamic flow through the house. As a result almost everything is in clear view, although the sight-lines are cleverly arranged to provide some privacy for the main bedroom and bathroom.
Once the family has moved in the house takes on a totally different character, the clutter of their daily lives laid out in a voyeuristic narrative for all see. Whilst this arrangement may not be to everyone's taste, it is perhaps an interesting parallel to modern life with the emphasis on social networks and scant regard for privacy.
Simple, sculptural suspension lights such as the Sliced Sphere suspension light from Frederik Roije would look great in the open voids of the Miyamoto house. Alternatively low level lights such as the Read Noon floor light from Zeitraum and the Lantern table lamp from New Works would work well too.
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