fbpx DAN | Daily Architecture News The YAP design office in Japan - DAN | Daily Architecture News
The YAP design office in Japan

The YAP design office in Japan

WATCH: Week in review #028 includes the YAP design office.

Tucked underneath the Uemachiso building in downtown Osaka, the design office belonging to emerging Japanese architecture practice YAP interacts quietly with the streetscape. Opening out to the footpath, the creative space is a spectator to the rhythmic parade of pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles in a neighbourhood that is dominated by nagaya, the name given to the region’s rowhouses.

The 9-metre-wide frontage of the YAP design office nods to its former life as a warehouse, where goods would come and go from small trucks that pulled up directly to the kerb. But while the deliveries have stopped, the soundtrack of the streets is something that lives on. “The sound of a car running outside is always heard, making you feel as if you are working outside,” quips Akito Yamaguchi, YAP’s practice principal.

Creating the YAP design office

In contrast to other design offices in the area, which are typically located on the upper-level floors of a building, Akito explains that the interaction between the YAP office and the street was key to the studio’s design. “I thought about using this large opening of the first-floor warehouse to [project] the scenery inside the design office toward the town,” he says. “The design office was intended to be a place to connect people to people.”

All the workings you’d expect from a busy design studio are orderly and efficiently included in the edgy little office: a large workbench and separate architectural model storage room, a concealed library, kitchenette and open-air breakout spaces – all brought to life with raw and uncomplicated materials, including veneer panels, galvanised steel and handmade concrete pavers.

The designers kickstarted the renovation by playing to the building’s existing strengths, beginning with the exposed H-shaped steel beams. Lauan veneer panels were cut so size and fitted between the beams to form the series of overhead vaults. The same veneer material was employed to make the large desk and its chunky cylindrical legs which can be moved and positioned where the load of a computer or books requires additional support.

Underfoot, the architects used hand-kneaded concrete to produce square-format pavers. The facing surface of each paver was brushed, “stamped” with crinkled copy paper, and then brushed again for a rustic appearance. The result is an office floor with “approximately two-hundred flat blocks with completely different expressions,” says Akito.

Between the pavers that connect the indoor space with the narrow outdoor platform, tracks for large timber-framed sliding doors run the full length of the office. This allows the studio to open completely to the street – with the raised platform becoming a spot to sit and work on a laptop – or the doors can be closed to seal the office from the hustle and bustle of the roadway.

Along the rear wall, the doors that conceal the bookshelf are made from hot-dipped galvanised steel and were designed by YAP to gently reflect as much light internally as possible. The sliding doors also hide personal belongings, architectural models and general paraphernalia that’s accumulated in the day-to-day operation of an office.

Speaking to YAP’s more experimental side, the washbasin in the kitchenette was fashioned from clear polyester resin blocks – with a steel kitchen funnel and S-bend contraption capturing the wastewater – while out-of-date red wine has been used to dye some of the surfaces a subtle shade of pink. Quirky? Absolutely. But Akito says this is all part of the practice’s ongoing growth. “We are always repeating experiments to know the characteristics [of materials] and to gain learning.”


Catch up on more office architecture and design and retail design, plus subscribe to receive the Daily Architecture News e-letter direct to your inbox.

I thought about using this large opening of the first-floor warehouse to [project] the scenery inside the design office toward the town.

Akito Yamaguchi Practice principal, YAP
YAP deisgn office
YAP deisgn office
YAP deisgn office
YAP deisgn office

Related stories

Login to join the conversation

Subscriber comments are moderated first. Respect others. Criticise ideas, not people. No offensive language View commenting guidelines

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Further Reading
View all in News
Under construction: Valley in Amsterdam by MVRDV
The arrival of Valley is part of Amsterdam’s ambition to rebalance this particular area of the city’s strong business focus by bringing in more residential appeal, transforming the region into a liveable and “complete” urban quarter. Designed by local Dutch architecture office MVDRV for EDGE Technologies, the 75,000-square-metre mixed-use Valley precinct contains apartments, shops, offices, […]
Artful lodger: Inside the Ace Hotel Sydney by Flack Studio
Inspired by the visionary modernist architect Robin Boyd and his 1960s book, The Australian Ugliness, Ace Hotel Sydney tells its story with a palette reflective of the hard-working history of its industrial shell. The use of raw, tactile and moody materials, exampled by off-form concrete walls, locally sourced timber and aged brass, nods to the […]
Colour odyssey: Inside the Maison Matisse flagship store in Paris
While we can’t all acquire an original Matisse and indulge in pondering which wall to hang it upon at home – dream as we may – the appetite for a slice of the artist’s effervescent world hasn’t fizzled. This is evidenced by the evolution of the Maison Matisse brand, which was founded in 2019 by the fourth […]
Home tour: House of Remembrance in Singapore by Neri&Hu
In this project, dubbed the House of Remembrance, Neri&Hu has explored how notions of communal living and collective memory can be expressed spatially. The original site featured a lush vegetated edge that formed a natural green buffer along the perimeter, a feature that the designers have retained. The previous house was built in the style […]
Common Reader bookstore in Hangzhou by Atelier tao+c
From an early stage in the design process, the architects at Atelier tao+c reached a mutual understanding with their client that the Common Reader should not just be a “storage room” for books. Rather, it should also be a place for people to get involved with “collecting social memories and absorbing knowledge,” the tao+c team […]
Patricia Bustos unveils ‘Serene Touch’ installation at Casa Decor 2022
The great success of the debut edition – and those that followed in its footsteps – lies in its formula. Casa Decor is unique and exclusive, and focused on three fundamentals. Firstly, it brings together in historic locations a large group of professionals with experience and prestige who, with great enthusiasm, wish to show their […]

Back to Top