By Savitha Hira
Photography: Toshihisa Ishii; courtesy the architect
Ar. Masahiko Sato designs an arresting facade; and interiors that boast of chic simplicity and homely appeal...
Japanese houses have a few elements in common: linearity, minimalism and engaging interiors irrespective of the view outside. A recent home that Ar. Masahiko Sato has designed in a residential area in Kumamoto city uses these very tenets to evolve into a simple chic abode for a couple and their two growing kids.
Starting with an intriguing building elevation of wood, concrete and siding in a striking monochrome palette, the approx. 100 sq. m two-storey residence is anointed with a double-height living area and a private outdoor space that opens up the home to plenty of natural light and ventilation. Augmenting this scenario, the architects choose a white palette for walls and ceilings and wooden flooring to ‘liberate’ the place and reflect light, exponentially enhancing the spatial quality.
Pragmatics come into play in the way the space is planned with public spaces below and bedrooms on the upper floor. The open-plan layout has the kitchen overlooking the outdoor enclosure, allowing the children to play safely and be watched over at the same time. The little outdoorsy space is also ideal during party time, especially as it affords a fair share of privacy, surrounded as it is by a 2.5m high wall.
The area under the staircase is well utilised with shelving suited to books and other knick-knacks; whilst the children’s room is perhaps the only colourful space and equipped for future division, considering the growing kids would soon need their independent spaces.
Straight lines define the ambience accentuating the length and breadth of the rooms, the wood juxtaposed against the white, creating divisions, sparking interest and creating a serene backdrop that is suddenly offset by a portion of the home with a black and white striated flooring; a categoric statement that silently endorses that whilst the exterior elevation piques one’s interest, the interior is not far behind in making its surprise splash!