Real apartment: Two for one


Polarising design concepts from a father and daughter fuse together to create an award-winning space

When creating a home, there’s usually only one person making the decisions, but this wasn’t the case for a father and daughter who had very different visions for their family home. The pair called on the expertise of design and architecture firm CUBO, who were tasked with producing a traditional Japanese space that was artistic and European in style. So what’s the solution to this conflicting design dilemma? Utilising traditional Japanese techniques to ensure both styles are without compromise.

Located in Nagoya, Japan, the home is perched in the largest and fourth-most-populous city in the Chubu region of Japan, which plays house to a massive 21.72 million people. In an area where high-rise living and small properties are the norm, creating a space that is essentially and unmistakably yours is a luxury that should be afforded. “We designed a house for a father and a daughter,” says CUBO spokesperson Chika Muto. “The father asked for a modern Japanese style and the daughter asked for an artistic interior design with a vivid colour scheme.” With a strict brief to adhere to and two people to please, the entrance hall and red staircase serves as the buffer between the two distinct areas. “A sliver of light penetrates through the space, creating a theatrical impression like a stage set welcoming visitors,” says Chika.

Comprising stacked boxes, the purpose of the home is to harmonise with its surroundings and provide a calm atmosphere. “The father’s area, which is of contemporary Japanese style, occupies the right side of the space,” explains Chika. Simple and traditional in nature, the space features shoji, a translucent Japanese paper over a frame of wood. Serving as a partition, shoji can easily change the purpose of a space, closing it off or connecting it to another area. A detached study is also located in the home, which appears to be floating and contains a dome ceiling that reflects light.

Heading over to the left side of the house is a completely different experience. The colour scheme is bright and modern, with a Japanese aesthetic still present. A washitsu — western-style room — is located on the first floor of the home, featuring a black tatami floor, red feature wall and stunning art piece painted on fusuma (sliding paper panels).

Serving as a living room for socialising, the spacee is definitely full of talking points. An open courtyard is visible from the modern Japanese room, with large windows ensuring the space can be enjoyed at all times.

The daughter’s main bedroom certainly is a statement within the home. A mix of pink, purple, black and gold comes together to create a space that exudes a punchy, loud and glamorous vibe. “This room is like a designer hotel in Europe as it doesn’t make use of traditional Japanese colour coordination,” says Chika.

This abode is very much a living example of old world meets new. With both styles coexisting in the home, the separation of the two living spaces enables the different design aesthetics to flourish.


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Written by Annabelle Cloros
Photography by Yasuno Sakata

Originally from Home Design magazine, Volume 18 Issue 5