Project Name: Modern Duplex in Japan

Location: Nagano, Japan

Date Completed: May 2020

Architect: Sekisui House, Ltd.

Interior Designer: Atsuko Tsukahara

Construction Company: Sekisui House, Ltd.

The client brief for this project was to design a newly built duplex house located in the cultural area of Nagano city, where the Winter Olympics were held in 1998. The two couples have requested to have their individual units in order to respect each other’s privacy.

The architecture was designed to have the serenity surrounded by nature in contrast with the urban atmosphere in the city. The interior designer maintained the idea of the architecture and integrate the clients’ personality to the design by carefully selecting materials and the beautiful layers of colours.

Studio Cotan aimed to represent the unclear border between the interior and exterior, which was the overall design goal of this project. The designer managed to merge the techniques of traditional Japanese houses and the modern scheme. The spacious entrance hall facing a small garden with glass wall partitions brings the exterior into the interior. The floor material is the locally sourced andesite.

Parents’ living space was designed with sophisticated and luxurious elements, having colour palettes using different shades of blue and grey to add depth to the space. Their bedroom is designed with bespoke headboard and the ottoman stool. The grey clipped ceiling and the continuous beams extend towards the eaves outside; the elements connect the exterior and the interior, emphasize the lively space. The aged mirror in the dining room is carefully placed and reflects the beautiful garden and the pendant lights.  This effect succeeds to take the exterior space into the room. Studio Cotan used the idea of traditional temples in Kyoto, using the wood deck to connect the garden and their bedroom.  The blue gradation scheme in various textures unites with the traditional architectural method, and it creates a new western modern style.

As the client loves cooking, she requested a large kitchen and a dining table. The lightings with playful shapes and colours evoke the image of lively plants creep over the ceiling towards the garden. The effect was planned by the designer to please the clients’ eyes while she is cooking. In the guest room, the luxurious sheer curtain with mysterious iridescent effect sets off both the luxurious multi-coloured sofa and the gorgeous view of garden trees lit up in the night.

The carefully chosen materials, such as fabric, glass, stones used on floorings and walls, western red cedar wood ceiling, are effectively lit up. The lighting techniques demonstrate their beautiful texture, which gives the clever contrast in the rooms and provide the depth to the space.