Kinuta Terrace

Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa first met a couple of years back during a workshop visit to Japan, and quickly discovered a great many shared views on design, architecture and art. In the spring of 2018, Ashizawa onboarded Norm Architects to collaborate on the renovation of two apartments in the Kinuta Terrace apartments complex in Tokyo comprising a total of 36 units. Kinuta Terrace was originally built back in the 1980s and features an integrated courtyard that gives residents the advantages of a single-family home.

The two studios partnered with Karimoku, Japan´s leading manufacturer of wooden furniture, which resulted in the Kinuta Collection, a series of 12 tailormade furniture pieces, all a part of the apartments interior. Working with transparency, light and shadow, the collaborating studios have strived to use the existing architecture to frame both the outside and the inside living spaces in an attempt to open up and guide its inhabitants from one space to the next. The nature feels integrated into the apartments from most rooms, looking out into the courtyard, and makes a very unique place for the residents in an immense city as Tokyo. Photo: Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen.

Combining a balanced industrial and natural look and feel, each space has been designed to let air and light pass through, creating a natural flow throughout the apartment. Working with double height spaces and large windows, the surroundings are invited inside and vice versa.
The majority of the designs feature thoughtful details inspired by structures seen in Japanese temples and gardens; for example the rhythm of the roof lines in temples that the studios paid visits to are evident in the long coffee table.
– There is an ever so valid need for natural and haptic interiors that can connect modern urban dwellers with a sense of nature in big cities, and through the unique skills and production capabilities of Karimoku, the collaborating studios were able to use the best possible natural materials for the bespoke furnishing, ultimately creating design that last, maintaining the highest possible standards throughout, the collaborators explain.