Tomoko Sasaki and Kei Sato, founders of Japanese studio 8 Tenhachi, have recently renovated this 67 sqm apartment just outside of Tokyo to create a big open space with two open box spaces for their own family. The concrete ceiling and beams are left exposed throughout, contrasting with the white walls and furniture doors that have been added. None of the walls reach the ceiling, which allows us to see that the new infill pieces are different from the structure of the original concrete.
Except for the bathroom, all the spaces are connected. Two added boxes open to the main connected space. “We think that there are both public behaviors and private behaviors in a house,” explain Sasaki and Sato. “These two boxes play the role of a gentle connector.”
The lower level of the white box is a bedroom with a hidden atmosphere, made intimate by a floor level 50mm lower than the living room. The upper level is the ladder-accessed kids-space, special for children thanks to the low ceiling height and scale.
Wood flooring surrounds the wooden box, and the angled lines continue into the wall. This box contains the bathroom, basin, and washing spaces, with big openings to the living room. White curtains are the only soft material, installed for privacy. Viewed from the living room, the interior of this box appears as a three-dimensional frame. The bathtub and rain shower are at center stage, brightened by the backing of white hexagonal tiles.
At the heart of the living area is a 4.5m long table, made of Japanese cedar. This central table hosts many functions, acting as the kitchen, dining, workspace, and kids’ drawing space. The table is not divided by functions, but instead gently connects them. Daily family situations take place here, and when people gather for parties, this transforms into a 20 seat common table.
all images © Akihide Mishima