Kengo Kuma and Ryuichi Sakamoto team up to create architectural building blocks

Display of 5 wooden building block creations in an architectural style.
Kengo Kuma launched a new game set of wooden building blocks, entitled Tsumiki, addressed to children of all ages
(Image credit: Ikunori Yamamoto)

Where Denmark has Lego, Japan has 'tsumiki'. Meaning 'wooden blocks' in Japanese, Tsumiki is also the name of the new project that has just been launched by internationally acclaimed, Tokyo based architect Kengo Kuma, who is behind this new set of playful wooden blocks for children of all ages. 

'I have loved tsumiki my whole life, ever since I was a young boy,' says Kuma. 'And my dream came true, I designed tsumiki myself, the sort which hadn't existed before.' The set is 'not a heavy, masonry kind of wood block, but a light, transparent system just like what you see in traditional Japanese architecture', continues the architect. 

Known for his tireless explorations of timber construction, which have resulted in striking wood crafted works such as the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center and the Daiwa Computing Research Building, Kuma is passionate about the age-old building material. This new foray into scaled wood construction is sure to bring out the child – and the architect – in everyone. Made of Japanese cedar wood, the elements can be combined and stacked to create small buildings and sculptures.

Created in collaboration with musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and his forest conservation organisation More Trees, this architectural game can be used to create structures of all shapes and sizes - as well as raise awareness about the environmental problems caused by the dangerous deforestation on our planet. 

Three boxed sets of children's wooden building blocks. The boxes are displayed in size order from large to small (left to right). The packaging is light grey with simple design.

The project was created in collaboration with musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and his forest conservation organisation, More Trees

(Image credit: Ikunori Yamamoto)

Display of two wooden building block creations.

Kuma always loved tsumiki, he explains, and now he had the chance to design a set of his own

(Image credit: Ikunori Yamamoto)

Wooden building blocks creation - a series of block interlocked ino a striking pyramid design

Apart from providing the building blocks to create structures of all shapes and sizes, the set also helps raise awareness about the environmental problems caused by deforestation

(Image credit: Ikunori Yamamoto)

INFORMATION

For more information on Kengo Kuma visit the website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Ikunori Yamamoto

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).