Designer Chikara Ohno created this 80.73sqm (869sqf) private residence in Tama-Shi, Tokyo, Japan to hold 11 different zones within a functional layout of easy access to both public and private volumes. Located at the very back of the home is the Tatami area just outside a wrapped curvaceous wall that hides a niche complete with sofa and TV for quiet contemplation or media enjoyment. The quiet zone allows views to both the interior and exterior via the false windows, as though the space is a home within a home. Located next to the Tatami area (defined by the Tatami rugs) is first the “sunny place” and then the dining area which is punctuated with a crisp blue pendant and supported by a dividing wall that separates it from the kitchen. The curved wall continues down the centre of the home to create a dividing hallway with the kitchen and dining area on one side and the washrooms on the other. At the end of the hall is the location of the workplace and bedroom as well as the entrance to the home.
False windows that allow the views from the backyard to travel into the inner space connect both the Tatami and quiet zones. The top of the passageway leading into the quiet zone is curved as a reflection of the wall itself and, although it is an inner room it is bathed in natural light via the multiple false windows on two of its sides.
The media wall inside the quiet zone is clad in dark paneling. The dark paneling absorbs light but with all the openings into this zone it stays light and bright.
The sunny place is right next to the Tatami zone and it doesn’t take much imagination to know why is called the sunny place. Bathed in natural light from the large expanse of window, a comfortable bentwood chair and ottoman takes advantage of the light by offering the perfect repose for reading. Coincidentally the wall behind the bentwood chair is lined with shelves making this the perfect spot to house a small library.
When evening comes, the bentwood chair can be repositioned to take advantage of the starlit views. With the dining light turned on, the table becomes the extension of the library.
The dining area is small but functional with its long line of shelving that continues from the sunny area straight through into the kitchen. A curved cut out in the central wall acts as a window between the kitchen and dining area, although they are continuously connected via the walk ways on either side of the wall. To continue the theme of cut outs, the long curvilinear dividing wall also has false windows that look from the hallway into the dining and kitchen areas. The whole composition is a whimsical story of “now you see me, now you don’t”.
On the other side of the dining room wall is the kitchen and a two legged counter top with cook top mimics the dining table on the other side. A large venting hood is suspended over the cooktop and travels a short distance across the ceiling until it meets the wall where it becomes hidden in the various dropped ceiling sections.
On the other side of the hallway is the entrance to 3 different zones. The washroom (comprised of vanity and shower), the toilet and the bath – each individually separated from each other by their own doorways. The doorway into the 3 washing zones also has a cut out window, but only offers views to the pink walled vanity area.
With the doorway of the washing zone open, there is a clear sight line to the kitchen. Since there are no outside windows in the 3 washing zones, the spaces are kept light and bright with the use of cheerful colour and lots of white combined with pale wood.There are two identical vanities – one that holds a vessel sink and one that offers an uninterrupted counter surface.
The hallway continues past the washing zones and ends its linear lineat the doorway to the bedroom. From this point the hall turns and becomes an L shape as it carries on meet up with the entry.
The layout of this home is well thought out and precise. Small spaces are hard to allocate all aspects of daily life to, but Designer Chikara Ohno has managed to do just that. Each of the 11 zones is particular to usage while offering a level of flexibility for those unexpected moments and unplanned situations. With life never being a perfect daily cycle, it is nice to know that even small spaces can conform.
Photography; Takumi Ota
Designer; Chikara Ohno