Home in the heart of Tokyo perfectly merges traditional Japanese architecture with contemporary finishes

Tucked away in the heart of Tokyo is a modern Japanese home with a traditional touch. Called C4L, the home is designed by Cubo Design Architect and beautifully integrates traditional Japanese materials and details with contemporary finishes. The home is inspired by Junichiro Tanizaki’s book on Japanese aesthetics, In Praise of Shadows, which focuses on “materials and furnishings whose beauty and comfort can only be fully appreciated in the half-light of a traditional home”, according to the team.

Designer: Cubo Design Architect

“We believe houses that are rooted in an understanding of Japan’s cultural context and a respect for the skills and innovations of our ancestors, which can nevertheless be passed onto future generations, are the kind of houses we should be building in Japan today,” the team continued.

The home was designed to celebrate “the warmth of things made by hand”, and was built in collaboration with local artisans specializing in carpentry, paper, and lacquer. As you enter the house, you are welcomed by a shallow pool, and a ground-floor lounge. Polished and natural stone walkways pass beds of rocks and plants and are complemented by textured plaster walls and wooden screens. The first floor employs the same stone and wood palette, but it takes on a more contemporary personality. The stone and wood are infused with Japanese paper walls, while a bedroom carpeted in a dark tone, and a bed covered with braided cords are added to the mix.

The bathroom features a sunken stone bath and a timber sauna. A tearoom has been equipped with tatami flooring and finished using traditional Japanese carpentry techniques. Wood-framed sliding doors lead you to compact balcony areas that provide views of the ground-floor lounge. The second floor of the home features a living, dining, and kitchen area, accompanied by a south-facing terrace.

“We paid close attention to the contrast between light and dark, creating both subdued areas that express the beauty of weak light and more dynamic areas filled with strong light. Traditional artisans transformed soil, trees, and other natural materials into a wide range of architectural forms. Illuminated by beautiful light, these forms became spaces with great depth,” concluded studio founder Hitoshi Saruta.