Tokyo Design Week 2015: A Japanese Take on the Tailor-Made Home

This tailor-made Japanese home idea is brilliant.

As we well know in America, sometimes there's simply too much superfluous space in a home.

This designer, Daiki Awaya, cuts out the fat by separating portions of a standard Japanese house and turning the more unused sections into usable segments, as specified by the homeowner. These segments can be closed off and in-between them, cute little footpaths, foliage, and foresty areas can be added in. Sometimes, unusable segments of the home are eliminated altogether and replaced with outdoor space and landscaping.

This design, in particular, excites me tremendously. I firmly believe that the standard American home does not always satisfy people's individual wants and needs. The standard suburban American home may be comfortable for some but for a lot of us, no... just no. There's unnecessary space and even entire rooms that people don't use.

On top of this, there are many rooms that a family situation calls out for that the standard American home doesn't accommodate. A perfect example can be found in the case of multi-generational living. We exist in a time when more and more young(ish) people are living with their parents out of economic necessity. It can be an incredibly tough arrangement for all parties involved. Not only does the young adult feel infantilized by living in their parents' home, potentially in a child's bedroom or a basement, but the older parents may feel encroached upon and unsettled about their children's inability or perceived unwillingness to leave the nest. If a young married couple and their child live with senior parents, this situation is only exacerbated. There are simply too many people sharing the same facilities: bathrooms, kitchens, etc. American home design is set up for the nuclear family, but in this day and age the "family" unit may take on multiple forms.

Contrast this with cultures which prioritize multi-generational communal living. Bali immediately comes to mind. There, I traveled to rural villages where family plots were the norm (even for the middle class). On one plot of land, grandparents, parents, and many children lived together but still had their own space. Communal space for the family included a kitchen (of which there were a couple), a temple area with several shrines, and open spaces between buildings for activities like playing, cock fighting (one of Bali's most popular pastimes) and roaming. Obviously, not all of us have the luxury or desire to live this way. But it was still very powerful to see how accommodating and pleasant a space can be when its design coincides with social reality.

I'm happy to see that new age home developers in America have gotten the memo and started to build homes with these societal developments in mind. Whether it's the predominance of tiny houses, minimalist/ space-saving apartments for young urban professionals, or multi-generational family homes with two kitchens, there needs to be a wider array of housing options available to a diverse population with its distinct wants and needs.

Daiki Awaya challenges the cookie cutter mold by severing sections off the standard home, sometimes re-purposing them, sometimes getting rid of them altogether.

If you're a nature lover, you could add some gorgeous landscaping to outdoor corridors leading from one place to another. You could add a tropical jungle. A rose garden. A zen garden. A meditation hut! Whatever your little heart desires, here you have it: a tailor-made home for your own lifestyle.