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Elle Decor Italia

Tokyo, a 34-sq m flat that changes thanks to partition panels

Shibuya Apartment 402, by studio Hiroyuki Ogawa Architects, combines functionality and grace thanks to sliding wooden panels

Kaku Ohtaki

One of the greatest challenges for architects today is to find solutions to transform very small spaces into comfortable and cosy flats. Sometimes it takes just a good project and a few creative décor ideas to convert a bare studio apartment into a clever mini-loft. In Tokyo, Japanese firm Hiroyuki Ogawa restored a 34-sq m flat inside a reinforced concrete building, and divided the rooms with partitions — with sliding wooden panels, to be precise. The result is, as we shall see, an interesting hybrid combining the features of a big and elegant master bathroom with those of a lounge/living room. The project is called Shibuya Apartment 402 and was realised for Tanks by architects Hiroyuki Ogawa and Erika Okamoto.

The Shibuya apartment is in Tokyo, in the namesake Shibuya area and in Daikanyama. As you enter it and look up, you’ll notice the first peculiarity: the “domed” ceiling standing above a space divided in two sections. The first houses the main bathroom, the kitchen, and a small half-bath. In the second section, is the main room with a very high ceiling. It is from here that you can see the mezzanine overlooking the first area.


What makes the Shibuya Apartment 402 unique is its solution to divide the rooms: the main room and the area with the kitchen and bathrooms are separated by sliding wooden doors with a zigzag pattern that fill the entire space with warmth. Open or closed, these partition panels can turn the flat into a large dining room or an elegant master bathroom.

Here, if the panels are open, the wide glass panes let plenty of light into the main room. The resulting space is a sort of big “bathroom–lounge” where you can read, enjoy a movie or –why not- sip a cup of tea.

The plaster of the walls and the tiles of the floors diffuse light uniformly, giving the interiors of this small flat a sense of harmonious and gentle coherence and unity. But the atmosphere is quite charming also at night, thanks to the warm and measured lighting. 

“Ten minutes from the hectic Shibuya” – one of the 23 special neighbourhoods in Tokyo, and one of the most dynamic areas of the megalopolis - the Hiroyuki Ogawa Architects studio designed an intimate and comfortable haven, with a big bathtub “where body and mind can rest”.


by Roberto Fiandaca / 13 January 2018


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