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In Japan, an Anti-Decluttering House


The entrance way to House in Miyamotocho, a home in Osaka that embraces clutter

Marie Kondo (or Konmari, if you prefer) and her decluttering empire has taken the West by storm. And it’s given Japan an image of ultra-minimalism where people live a simple lifestyle, free of all the material possessions that have plagued Western homes. This is far from the truth and anyone who has visited an ordinary Japanese home (not one of those modernist homes featured in all the architecture blogs) knows it. People in Japan have stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.

A family of three in Osaka came to architect Yo Shimada with some very specific requests. First, they had many, many belongings. And they weren’t looking for innovative storage solutions where they could tuck it all away. Quite the opposite, in fact. And they also wanted their home to function as a single room, but with the flexibility of having different spaces. And so Shimada, of Tato Architects, proposed a series of elevated platforms – 13 platforms to be exact – interspersed throughout the home. “The floors build up as two spiral shapes, joins at the living room, and then separate into two again before arriving at the rooftop deck,” explains the architect.

The “House in Miyamotocho” was completed last year and, upon completion, the owners, who have lived in the neighborhood for years, slowly began filling it with all their stuff. Finally people may be embracing the mantra that it’s not hoarding if your shit is awesome.



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