Balancing act: Case-Real convert Japanese storehouse into modern work space
Creative folk are often heard complaining of a work-life imbalance, and the trend for live-work spaces is on the up. Helping one productive Japanese duo to achieve this illusive, much sought-after life goal, are former Wallpaper* Design Award winners Koichi Futatsumata, who have created an effortlessly elegant multi-functional work space in a converted Japanese storehouse.
The Fukuoka-based design firm were given carte-blanche on the project, explains Futatsumata. They've come full circle, and ended up with a muted, adaptable space, that acts a blank canvas for the pursuits of the owners. The space is so versatile you could use it for almost anything, from tea ceremonies to art exhibitions. Which is just as well, because the owners work as a creative director in food design and as a gallerist specialising in Japanese craft.
The converted home, which is situated in Gosho-Higashi, a quiet town between Kyoto Gyoen and the Kamo River, comprises a white structure which houses the comfortable office area and a converted Japanese storeroom called a 'kura', containing a 'gallery space to exhibit pottery and everyday tools', notes the designer. 'We aimed to create a space where the clients can practice their different professions; a place where the multiple uses influence and play into each other.' The refined palate of plums, browns and creams provides a warm base, and the movable screens allow for many of the rooms to be adjusted in size as required.
To achieve the home's signature urban-Japan-meets-traditional-Zen look, Case-Real engaged local craftsmen. For the tearoom, furniture makers Koichi Touji and Yuji Yamamoto created a bespoke, six-seater counter to fit into the narrow room; and for the lighting, Case-Real called upon architectural lighting specialist Shoji Hiroyasu, who chose tastefully tucked-away down-lighting.
The live-work space is a well-balanced success, Futatsumata concludes, because traditional Japanese houses often possess this natural adaptability. 'By maintaining the characteristics of spacial continuity that Japanese residences hold, each of the functions in this house are able to co-exist in harmony.'