Designed by local studio Cubo Design Architects, Tokyo’s C4L House combines traditional Japanese materials and details with contemporary finishes.
Drawing on traditional Japanese architecture, the home was designed by Cubo Design Architects to celebrate the “warmth of things made by hand.”
The work was created in collaboration with several local artisans working in carpentry, paper, and lacquer, and is inspired by Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki’s 1933 essay “In Praise of the Shadows” and wabi, the acceptance of imperfection. It refers to the concept of sabi.
“As Junichiro Tanizaki writes, there are materials and furnishings whose beauty and comfort can only be fully appreciated in the half-light of a traditional home,” said Hitoshi Saruta, the studio’s founder. speaks.
“We believe that homes that should be built in Japan today are homes that are rooted in an understanding of Japan’s cultural background and respect for the skills and innovations of our ancestors, and that can be passed down to future generations. ” continued.
The entrance to C4L House leads past a shallow pool to the ground floor lounge. Here, both polished and natural stone walkways wind through beds of rocks and plants, surrounded by textured plaster walls and delicately carved wooden screens.
On the first floor, the same wood and stone palette is used in the bedrooms, but with a more contemporary approach. It features Japanese paper walls and a dark carpeted sleeping area with a bed separated by braided cord.
The bathroom area includes a sunken stone bath and bentwood sauna, and the tea room is finished with traditional Japanese carpentry techniques and tatami flooring.
Sliding timber-framed doors open onto a small balcony area overlooking the first floor lounge, creating a visual juxtaposition of rough and smooth, light and dark.
“We paid close attention to the contrast between light and dark, and created a balance between calm areas that express the beauty of low light and dynamic areas that are filled with strong light,” Saruta explains.
“Traditional craftsmen transformed earth, wood, and other natural materials into various architectural forms,” Saruta continued.
“Illuminated by beautiful light, the form became a space with depth.”
At the top of the second floor of the C4L house, the living, dining and kitchen areas are set back to make room for a south-facing terrace protected by a large tree-topped roof overhang.
Cubo Design Architect is a Tokyo-based company led by architect Mr. Saruta. Previous projects by the studio include a concrete and blackened wood-clad house in Odawara designed to create the feeling of floating in space.
Elsewhere in Japan, Tan Yamauchi and AWGL recently built a house and studio with a heavily curved facade.
Photographed by Koji Fujii/TOREAL, Takashi Yasui.