Tokyo Design Week 2016: To Live in a City

Living in the city can be stressful. We're busy. We work a lot. We internalize traffic stress, interpersonal stress, and struggle to find the time to get outside in nature.

Not to mention, our homes are oftentimes designed to protect us from the outdoors, not integrate us with the outdoors. This causes extra disconnection from our natural surroundings, only serving to intensify the pressure we may feel in our daily lives.

Thankfully, more and more people are becoming aware of the toll such circumstances can cause on the mind, body, and spirit and are accordingly, finding ways to reconnect with the Great Spirit of the Outdoors, whether by bringing themselves out into nature more or by bringing nature into their homes more.

As a designer, I feel personally responsible for reintegrating nature into my clients' lives. Much can be done in the way of interior design to bring fresh plant and floral life into a home, but my job becomes so much easier when architects design with this spirit in mind. They provide the body that I get to adorn with fresh foliage, brilliant colors, and all that makes us feel under the stars, full of oxygen, safe, and alive.

At Tokyo Design Week, I was able to see some fresh ideas on natural design in urban homes, one of which was this "To Live in a City" home.

From an indoor pillow pit for sunbathing to a star-gazing indoor bathtub, this home opens up the mind to all kinds of new possibilities in new-age home design.

 Mori-no-yurayura Living Room: a swinging sofa in the "forest" of the living room.

Mori-no-yurayura Living Room: a swinging sofa in the "forest" of the living room.

 Tokidoki-oide Terrace: A flexible courtyard with a sculptural tree. It becomes a private space by closing the outer doors or an open space by leaving the doors open. This is the view from the swinging sofa in the living room.

Tokidoki-oide Terrace: A flexible courtyard with a sculptural tree. It becomes a private space by closing the outer doors or an open space by leaving the doors open. This is the view from the swinging sofa in the living room.

 Horo Yoi Kitchen: Connecting the table to the kitchen, in line with the modern design trend to keep the kitchen area and dining area as one largely cohesive space.

Horo Yoi Kitchen: Connecting the table to the kitchen, in line with the modern design trend to keep the kitchen area and dining area as one largely cohesive space.

 Howa-howa Komorebi Gym: This is a pillow pit with softly filtered sunlight. Sun shines through hanging vines into this soft cushion corner filled with egg-shaped squishy orbs, a place to lie, rest, and release the stresses of the city.

Howa-howa Komorebi Gym: This is a pillow pit with softly filtered sunlight. Sun shines through hanging vines into this soft cushion corner filled with egg-shaped squishy orbs, a place to lie, rest, and release the stresses of the city.

 Tenku-no-yawaraka Bath: Relax in a bubble bath while watching the stars shine above and the clouds shift and move.

Tenku-no-yawaraka Bath: Relax in a bubble bath while watching the stars shine above and the clouds shift and move.

 Neko-to-watashi-no-madobe: This space was created specifically to lounge and read books with your cat! This is amazing! And something I absolutely need in my life.

Neko-to-watashi-no-madobe: This space was created specifically to lounge and read books with your cat! This is amazing! And something I absolutely need in my life.

 Waku-waku Bedroom: Transform your bedroom into a hobby room by folding your raiseable bed up against a wall and drawing down a desk from the ceiling. I love this kind of changeable space in a crowded city like Tokyo.

Waku-waku Bedroom: Transform your bedroom into a hobby room by folding your raiseable bed up against a wall and drawing down a desk from the ceiling. I love this kind of changeable space in a crowded city like Tokyo.

We tend to get so stuck in our ways of thinking, whether that's about design, culture, or our own lifestyles. It's absolutely necessary to get out, travel, and see what the rest of the world has to offer in terms of solutions to modern-day problems. So many people around the globe are facing issues related to economic instability, urban crowding, overwork, underpay, digitization of work and life, and an increasingly difficult work-life balance. If we don't collaborate and learn from others, we risk falling victim to these same pressures even further, rather than finding viable solutions to overcome them.

Looking at how Tokyo designers handle these pressures allows us, in the U.S. and beyond, to become better prepared for our own uncertain future. And that in itself, aside from Shibuya and the sushi, is worth traveling to Tokyo to.