- Kyoto - Japan

The apartment is located nearby Kiyomizu-Temple, and has excellent views of the five sacred mountains of Kyoto.

Our plan was to transform a typical (drab) Japanese condominium into a guesthouse where artists and creators can pursue their creative activities and enjoy living as well.

We also tried to integrate traditional Japanese techniques normally not used in construction into the design.


In traditional Japanese lacquerware “Urushi-Nuri”, the technique calls for lacquer resin impregnated jute fabric reinforcement of the wooden base, forming a rigid composite structure beneath the polished upper coat.
This composite technique is alike to FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic) layering, so we chose FRP using translucent resin for the washroom floor to mimic this method. The translucent resin is polished to reveal the underlying glass-fiber layers over the wooden base, resulting in a translucent, yet complex visual texture while achieving material strength and waterproofing needed for the location.

The Japanese have traditionally repaired broken ceramics by gluing fragments together with Japanese lacquer and gilding the seams with gold powder to enjoy the beauty of imperfection as “Kintsugi”, literally meaning “to join with gold”. In construction, traditional plastered mortar cracks when it sets. This cracking is usually deemed as inferior work, and current improved mortar seldom cracks. We noticed that this cracking resembles broken ceramics. Using traditional mortar, we emulated the art of “Kintsugi” in the living room by joining the cracks with gold coloured epoxy-resin, thus transforming what was considered imperfect into a subject of beauty.

The mirrored bathroom doors double as a changing room when opened. The highly polished metal surfaces reflect the room interior and surrounding scenery producing a kaleidoscopic effect.

At a glance, each element may be simple, but as a whole serves a intuitive and creative atmosphere for the creative resident.


Architect: TANK (Naritake Fukumoto)

Construction: LOÖWE, TANK

Location: Kyoto, Japan

Year: 2016

Collaborators: n/a

Area: 47 sqm

Photo: Kenta Hasegawa


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