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A Minimalist Tokyo Home With a Sculptural Stairway Connecting Three Floors

05.17.21 | By
A Minimalist Tokyo Home With a Sculptural Stairway Connecting Three Floors
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Tasked with designing a home for two families in Tokyo, nendo founder Oki Sato came up with a clever way to give each family their separate space while still keeping them connected via a sculptural staircase. Appropriately named the Stairway House, the stairs begin outside before piercing the glass front facade and continuing up to the top of the third floor. The stairs aren’t just a dramatic focal point, they also hide the bathrooms and the actual staircase used to access each level.

Photo: Daici Ano

Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, the home is pushed to the back of the lot to allow for optimum natural light and ventilation, while creating an outdoor space that preserved their beloved persimmon tree.

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

Split over three levels, the ground floor belongs to the older couple and their eight cats allowing them to avoid climbing stairs in the future as they age. The second and third floors house the younger couple and their child with a double-height space that accommodates the interior part of the staircase.

Photo: Daici Ano

A large skylight resides over the top of the stairway creating the perfect place for an interior garden. The mother enjoys gardening and keeps the stairs filled with potted plants, inside and out, helping to soften the modern lines and minimalist interior.

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Daici Ano

I imagine there has to be some kind of hidden window coverings for both privacy and reducing the light when necessary.

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

The eight cats even have a dedicated space underneath the outdoor part of the stairs.

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Daici Ano

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

The actual staircase hidden within the sculptural staircase connects the three floors.

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

Photo: Takumi Ota

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.