Furniture follows function

WHERE we live will determines HOW we live.

Let’s start with an example: we’ve all seen the traditional Japanese houses with elevated platforms, paper walls, and seemingly no furniture. Ever wondered why?

It’s not because they have a thing against furniture, but because the climate dictates the type of living they can have and what kinds of furniture they can use.

The design of a traditional Japanese house is basically a rectangular house with a tiled roof over the top floor. The traditional home is usually set in very natural settings where the living room looks out into the nature. With the large openings that will usually have paper screens open up allow the outside to “come in”.

The houses are completely wooden from their frames to their doors. The Japanese use mats called “Tatami mats” to line their floors; each mat is 3ft x 6ft and they determine the size of the room based on the number of mats.

The Japanese call it “Kagu” — this is a concept that literally means “house-makings” referring to the furniture and furnishings in the home. The Japanese civilization retains the custom of floor- seating which will explain the lack of raised furniture. Due to this, the need for legs to support tables and furniture were not needed. Everything stays low and nothing should be out of reach at the sitting position.

This concept of “Shitsurai” is a “from the floor up” approach of living where the interiors reflects minimalism for all furnishings. The partitions will cordon off areas and then the Tatami mats line the floor that are the stage for the table laid on top for this to function as a room. Shelves turn into built-in furnishings to limit the amount of objects in a room, even the bed is kept at low-level.

I can understand that beyond traditional building techniques and influences, climatic fluctuations,and constant seismic tremors, that large pieces of furniture are totally inadequate for these homes.

2 Comments to “Furniture follows function”

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