Balancing act: Case-Real convert Japanese storehouse into modern work space

Multi-functional work space in a converted Japanese storehouse
Koichi Futatsumata, who won a Wallpaper* Design Award in 2014, have created an effortlessly elegant multi-functional work space in a converted Japanese storehouse
(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

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.'

The Fukuoka-based design of house.

The Fukuoka-based design firm were given carte-blanche on the project, and have created a muted, adaptable space that acts a blank canvas for the pursuits of the owners

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

Japanese storehouse Converted into modern work space

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 in food design and Japanese craft

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

The converted home is situated in Gosho-Higashi.

The converted home is situated in Gosho-Higashi, a quiet town between Kyoto Gyoen and the Kamo River

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

Place created for practice different professions.

’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,’ says Ritsu Shibata of Case-Real

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

Six-seater table and chair set

For the tearoom, furniture makers Koichi Touji and Yuji Yamamoto created a bespoke, six-seater table and chair set

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

Modern work space

A view into the tearoom from outside

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

Exhibiting pottery and everyday tools.

The converted Japanese storeroom contains the gallery space, exhibiting pottery and everyday tools

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

Staircase for Upward from workspace.

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

The live-work space is a well-balanced success.

The live-work space is a well-balanced success, Shibata concludes, because traditional Japanese houses often possess this natural adaptability

(Image credit: Takumi Ota)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit Case-Real’s website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Takumi Ota

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.