Editor’s note: Please welcome our newest contributor, Leo Lei of lvlup design. He is passionate about minimalistic furniture and architecture and will be sharing his finds weekly in a new column called Skim Milk. Learn more about Leo on our About page.
What better than to start the Skim Milk column with the simplistic, yet elegant works of Shinichi Ogawa & Associates. Ware House, located in the suburbs of Higashihiroshima-shi in Hiroshima, Japan, is one of their latest realizations.
Although seemingly simplistic, the Japan-based architecture firm has a rather idiosyncratic style when it comes to minimalistic sensibility. Their pragmatic approach to minimalism is no less a statement emphasizing the importance of emotional design in Japanese culture than the aesthetic beauty in which minimal design engenders.
Take the interior layout for example. There is a nearly inconspicuous level change from one area to the next. The kitchen, bathroom, and office are slightly lowered from the living room and bedroom spaces. As a result, the slight dip is enough to produce a subtle feeling of segregation between rooms. In addition, the wall-units that separate the rooms are manifold in their functionality. Not only do the walls provide privacy, but they have toilets, kitchen appliances, and storage units integrated into them. The greatest aspect of Ware House is the lack of dichotomy between indoor and outdoor space. Through a series of doors, the interior can be completely open to the outside courtyard. Even when closed, the doors are fully transparent to the outdoor atmosphere.
The wall-units are also merged at the ceiling to create another floor, either for private use, or as a children’s floor. The height of this second foundation aligns with the top of the doors to provide privacy.
I define minimalism as the reduction of unnecessary elements in order to allow the smaller details to surface. Within Ware House, every piece of furniture, change in color, and ray of light is accentuated against the stark white background. When I look at this house, I can’t help but think the phrase, “a simpler life is a happier life.”
Photos by Toshiyuki Yano.