JAPAN HOUSE, a project led by the Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aims to nurture a deeper appreciation and understanding of Japan within the international community. Based on the project’s overall guidelines as defined by the Chief Creative Director Kenya Hara to “to introduce authenticated Japanese beauty and sensibilities,” JAPAN HOUSE is designed to showcase Japan via large, experiential hubs that combine exhibition and event spaces, retail space, and food and drink areas. Of the three JAPAN HOUSE sites in Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, and London, Wonderwall was in charge of the interior design for the London location. The London location has three floors and includes a shop and café stand on the ground floor, restaurant and bar on the first floor, and multipurpose hall, gallery, and library on its lower ground floor.
Our concept for the floor including the shop and gallery is the tokonoma (an alcove in traditional Japanese guestrooms). This concept was inspired by the following two contexts: Tenshin Okakura’s concept of 虚 (utsu, meaning vacuum) and 空 (kara, meaning emptiness) describing a space in which others can freely enter as the most versatile and essential¹; and Bruno Taut's “style of relationships” which he discovered in the reciprocal relationships between the elements that make up the Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa.² In traditional Japanese rooms, the atmosphere of an entire room can shift by simply replacing the flowers or the hanging scrolls displayed at the tokonoma. For this floor, our goal was to create a space that echoes the unique Japanese quality in which the atmosphere of the room changes according to the various elements and events taking place inside.
(For the restaurant concept, see “JAPAN HOUSE LONDON | AKIRA Restaurant”)
 Tenshin Okakura, “Book of Tea”
 Bruno Taut, “Rediscovering Japanese Beauty”
* Floors are described according to local standards. In Japan, lower ground floor is B1F; ground floor is 1F; first floor is 2F.
Principal Designer: Masamichi Katayama
Project Designer: Yohei Sakamaki