Traditional Japanese architecture style, creative interior designs and exterior designs that bring the authentic atmosphere of simplicity, tranquility, style and grace in design into the modern age while maintaining the traditional architectural concepts of Sukiya styled architecture of Japanese interior and exterior design.
Seen from the garden, the interior floor of the traditional Japanese house appears to float about one to two feet above the ground. Built of bamboo, planks of cypress and cedar, and organized with the delicate arrangements of tatami mats, the floor behaves like a piece of furniture. The floor invites sitting. Lounging directly on the floor of a traditional Japanese house has been described as living in a large piece of furniture. The floor is not a place in which walking around is encouraged.
In traditional Japan, it was considered bad manners to sit near a wall. In the west it is considered bad manners to sit on the floor.
Tokonoma is a traditional Japanese style alcove interior room design reserved for the display of Japanese wall-scrolls and art objects. Tokonoma is very important in the formal Japanese tea ceremony. Tokonoma is one of the essential component of Japanese tea house or Japanese interior room design.
The tatami mat consists of a thin layer of tightly woven rushes on top of a coarser mat of straw tightly bound with cords. The upper mat is sewn to the lower one with twine.
The mats are ideal flooring in that they are not too soft to walk on nor too hard to lie down on.
Since the mats are used for sitting or resting, tatami proportions are loosely based on the size of a person. Although tatami mat sizes vary around Japan, the dimensions are usually human size, approximately three feet by six feet.
When the designer of a traditional Japanese house first begins drawing up plans for the building, she first determines how many tatami mats will be needed to cover the floor. By designing different layouts, the final configuration of the mats will determine the shape and size of the house. In this way the architecture employs a unit of measurement that is standardized and originates from the proportion of a person.
Walls that Move
Between the posts that hold up the roof there are a number of partitions, or walls, that move. These partitions act as doors, windows, gates, and walls.
The act of moving these partitions creates a flexible space- a bit like office partitions in an office building. Made of bamboo, cedar or paper, they temporarily divide spaces. When closed they act as walls; when open they serve to link two spaces together.
The sequence of spaces or the path you take through the interior of a traditional house depends on the arrangement of the 'moving walls'.
Japanese shoji screen is made of paper, fabric, or glass on a wooden frame. Shoji screens are used as a room divider, or for windows or doors. All of Japanese shoji screen is handcrafted and designed to fit in with the natural interior design.
Shoji for bathroom
Japanese shoji screens are very popular in many homes seeking to adopt the Japanese style of minimalist design. Unfortunately, traditional shoji screens are expensive and today's economical homeowners are always seeking less expensive Japanese shoji construction techniques.
We have begun to see how the traditional Japanese house is similar to a very large piece of furniture, especially the floor and the tatami mats.
What use, then, would smaller furniture like chairs and tables have in the house?
It's a question of HIERARCHY. Some furniture is more or less important, larger or smaller.
Imagine, a whole house with only a low table, some chests for storage, and a simple shelf on which to read or write. No couches, easy chairs, bunk beds, dressers, or coffee tables. In the traditional Japanese house, there is no need for chairs because everyone sleeps on tatami matts which are really part of the floor. They're furniture themselves!
Belongings are stored under the floors behind moveable panels and the kitchen is a sunken well in the floor.
Tea ceremony prepared room
The traditional house does have a few pieces of portable furniture such as low, laquered tables and chests, all designed to be easily moved. The portability of the furniture is necessary because the spaces are used for many different uses.
The furniture, can be carried into a space as required. Since one may eat, sleep, and receive guests in the same space, the furniture is brought in and taken away to suit the needs of the moment. The opening and closing of the the moveable walls which are called fusuma and shoji, can transform the simple interiors, and the placement of these few pieces of furniture can establish the rhythms of daily use.