WALLPAPER: Fritz Hansen Tokyo HQ opens in Kengo Kuma building

Fritz Hansen Tokyo HQ opens in Kengo Kuma-designed building

Fritz Hansen unveils a new Tokyo HQ, in a building originally designed by Kengo Kuma in 1991. In a new film created to mark the opening, the architect shares his creative vision and his views on both Scandinavian and Japanese design

Fritz Hansen opens the doors to its new Tokyo HQ, including offices for the brand in Asia and a new showroom, taking over a 1991 triangular building designed by Kengo Kuma. Located in the Gaienmae quarter, known as Tokyo’s design district, the building now forms an important new chapter of Fritz Hansen’s design legacy. 

Fritz Hansen Tokyo showroom

The Fritz Hansen Tokyo showroom presents an inspiring, full lifestyle offering from the Scandinavian design brand, featuring iconic pieces by masters such as Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjaerholm, as well as new designs, and projects with creatives such as the colour collaboration with Carla Sozzani from 2020. The space will also play a pivotal role for Fritz Hansen’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

The building, Kuma explains, was created with European architecture in mind and was the architect’s last project before the economic bubble of the time burst – what followed was a period of deep creative change as he started working with wood and discovered a new approach to design.

To mark the Tokyo HQ opening, Fritz Hansen presents a new film featuring architect Kengo Kuma, discussing Japanese and Scandinavian design and architecture, and his affinity for the work of Jacobsen (among others). ‘I think Jacobsen’s contribution towards 20th century modernism somewhat redefined the realm of architecture itself,’ says Kuma. ‘In most cases, architects tend to consider the role of architecture with the building as the protagonist, and furniture as secondary details. However, Jacobsen reversed this notion, by focusing on small details such as furniture and defining the architecture around this, and I find this to be particularly interesting.’

Kuma also touches upon the new domestic landscape and the changes to Japanese interiors driven by the pandemic, with a particular focus on the awareness of materials – something reflected in the pieces presented by Fritz Hansen throughout the space. When asked about the role of furniture in his work, Kuma explains: ‘I don’t consider myself to be an architect that much. Instead, I think of myself as more of a designer of human lifestyles. This is what inspires me, so I would like to continue working with this approach in mind.’

Watch: Kengo Kuma on Japanese and Scandinavian design


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