This small pavilion on the campus of Kyoto University of Art and Design represents a collaboration with architect Ryue Nishizawa of SANAAA and design office, Nendo. The location: a steep hill face covered in luxurious vegetation. On a clear day, you can almost count the 36 crests of the hills that line Kyoto’s eastern edge. The adjacent area is
earmarked for a new grove of Japanese plum trees, and their fragrant early spring blossoms will only add to an already beautiful site. Nishizawa used a single roof to incorporate these elements into the pavilion’s design.
The roof is subtly inclined to follow the angle of the site. Dipping under it, visitors realize that the roof, delightfully and ambiguously, is also a wall. The pavilion’s spatial experience is intended to remind visitors of walking in the mountains under a thick tree cover. To date, many of Nishizawa’s buildings have felt like bright, open, and airy fields or gardens,
and the furniture inside them like wildflowers that blur the boundary between interior and exterior space, while adding brightness and color. But for the shady interior of this wooden structure, clinging onto the hillside exposed to the elements, we thought that furniture like fungi would be much more appropriate. Our mushroom-like stools for the space were handmade by artisans to slightly different shapes and sizes, giving a more natural effect. The stools’ layout—clustered
at the base of pillars, or in the nooks and crannies by stone walls and staircases—evokes the way that mushrooms grow
in the wild, and details like a handrail that transforms into a mushroom continue the metaphor. We wanted to design
architectural elements that would “grow” naturally from the space, rather than to put furniture in a room.