Trying to build a traditionally cozy house in the modern city is a challenging task. A classical Japanese house is sometimes the best way to solve this problem. A Cocoon house in Shiojiri, Nagano is a splendid example of bringing together well-established and proven design principles of Japanese architecture and an elegant modern style; it took the best from both styles. The house was designed with great care by a Japanese architectural studio Studio Aula. Every element in the house reflects tranquility and simplicity, inherent to the Japanese lifestyle.
The house owners are an elderly couple with children, who wanted a house with an atmosphere of a timeless Japanese design. The interiors are mostly made of Japanese cypress that has been brought from the family farm in a forest near Kiso. The concept was that the house design should have an aura similar to the previous farmhouse and to be made of wood, paper, and concrete. Wooden beams are the most distinctive feature of the house and provide natural ventilation on the top floor.
Minimalistic and neat decorations are supplemented with simple paper lanterns that look like an attractive interior accent on the natural wood.
The first floor accommodates a private space, and the lower level has an open living room and a smart bedroom leading to a modern garden. Sliding glass doors and shoji partitions create a discrete transition between private and common space, making the interiors visually seamless.
The studio also renovated the garden. The old garden was made of several stones representing a ship in the sea, but now the stones were converted into a pathway to make them more practical. Miniature Japanese pine trees brought more beauty and symbolism into the garden.
The design also considered lighting principles for the house to look cozy and modern. A soft subdued light of paper lanterns, spotlights, highlighting some elements of the building, usage of screens with their patterns – all these things make the house more traditional and authentically Japanese.