Brilliant Design Transforms Small Tokyo Apartment Into Spacious Inviting Home

Open concept apartment in Tokyo

Japan is known for its tight living quarters, but thanks to IGArchitects one couple in Tokyo is enjoying a light, airy, functional home for living and working. IGArchitects creatively used the space, which lacked any real separation walls, to give them a flexible layout that could meet their needs, including privacy when necessary.

The couple was happy to have a home where they were able to work anywhere and where the presence of their respective partner could be felt. This meant that the firm did not have to cater its design to small, closed spaces. Instead, they used the floor, staircases, and the building's walls to define the environment. The architects also took care to create interaction between the indoor and outdoor space, allowing the owners to choose to engage with the outside world whenever, and however, they'd like.

Though natural light only comes through one side of the home, floor-to-ceiling glass windows across three levels allow sunlight to stream into the interior. Each window panel fully opens, allowing easy access to the environment. Even though the home isn't big enough for a balcony, the interior can seem like a garden or balcony when needed with the ingenious design choice.

While almost no place in the home has a dedicated use, except for the smaller kitchen and bathroom that are situated toward the rear of the home, the entire space revolves around the relationship between the misaligned floors. On its own, each floor is quite small, but when used together, they can transform into seats, tables, shelves, or a ceiling.

By offsetting the walls and playing with the floor heights, IGArchitects has created an openness that makes the home appear much larger than its 645-square-foot (60 square meters) footprint. The large room at the front of the home acts as a space for work and relaxation, giving the homeowners a sense of spaciousness right in the city.

For the materials, the architects primarily used reinforced concrete for a modern, minimalist look. This meant that every detail had to be planned perfectly, as once poured, there was no going back. By also incorporating wood, they brought warmth to the space that compliments the concrete. The home is an inspiring use of space that once again proves that smart design can make the most of even the smallest environments.

IGArchitects transformed a small space in Tokyo into a modern, minimalist open space home for a couple.

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Modern airy apartment in Tokyo

Using flooring placed a different heights, they separated the space effectively while allowing flexibility in the floor plan.

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Open space apartment in Tokyo

Open space modular apartment

Large glass windows allow the homeowners to engage with the city, whenever and however they'd like.

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Thanks to the clever design, the couple can easily work and live in the space.

Spiral staircase in Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Concrete staircase in Tokyo Apartment

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

The use of reinforced concrete and wood creates a sleek, modern feel that still has warmth.

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Full wall bookcase in Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

Tokyo Apartment IGArchitects

IGArchitects: Website | Instagram

All images via Jingu Ooki. My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by IGArchitects.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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