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Apartments in Tokyo: Japanese and Danish design together

Kinuta Terrace Apartments are the fruit of a collaboration between Tokyo-based design studio Keiji Ashizawa and Copenhagen-based Norm Architects. A collaboration that is rooted in mutual admiration and love for the pristine material and its timeless value, evident in both Scandinavian and Japanese design traditions.

In the spring of 2018, Ashizawa invited Norm Architects to take part in the renovation of two apartments in the Kinuta Terrace apartment complex, consisting of 36 apartments. The Kinuta Terrace condominium was originally built in the 1980s. It has a courtyard that gives residents the benefits of a single-family home.

Two design studios in collaboration with the leading Japanese manufacturer of wooden furniture Karimoku carried out repairs to the complex, during which the idea arose to create a series of furniture.

This is how the Kinuta collection appeared – 12 pieces of furniture made to order. All subjects rely heavily on natural references to the natural aspect.

Working with transparency, light, and shadow, Danish studio Norm Architects aimed to use an existing architecture to open up and direct occupants from one space to another – to create an environment in which all elements are as closely connected as possible.

Nature feels integrated into the apartment from the rooms facing the courtyard, and you can’t realize that you are in such a huge city as Tokyo. This makes the apartments unique, offering its residents a very peaceful and harmonious home environment.

Each space has been designed so that air and light pass through it, creating a natural flow throughout the apartment. Working with double-height spaces and large windows, the designers created repetitive elements for the sake of a calming feeling. Stairs, railings, and wall panels mimic the paths of a courtyard, and a similar architectural approach has been embodied in pieces of furniture.

There is a very urgent need for natural and tactile interiors that can connect modern city dwellers with nature in big cities.

The items are decorated with elaborate details inspired by the structures of Japanese temples and gardens; for example, the rhythm of the lines of temple roofs is evident in a long coffee table.

Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa first met a couple of years ago during a working visit to Japan and quickly discovered many common views on design, architecture, and art, which sparked mutual interest in working together. Since then, they use each other’s knowledge and experience, and cooperate in architectural and design projects.

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