Takaaki Kawabata and Christina Kawabata are the couple behind Takatina Design. The New York based duo is behind many architectural and design projects for the fashion, retail and hospitality industries. Today, Mr. Kawabata tells us about their unique approach to architecture, what matters to them in a project and guide us through one of our favourites in their portfolio: the striking Black Box House, designed for a family near Tokyo.
What made you decide to become an architect?
My grandfather was a builder/contractor and my father is an architect in Japan. I purposefully tried to dodge being in the same profession as them as a form of rebellion, but it was just in my blood. I think this profession chose me.
Which part/s of a new project excite you the most?
The first time meeting with the client who is entrusting his/her vision in your hands is always an exciting moment. The design development phase is a challenge but always an exciting stage where the vision takes more shape and the “aha” moment kicks in.
Which are, in your opinion, the emerging trends in residential architecture that will shape our way of living in, let’s say, the next ten years?
We think residential complexes that brings together a communal experience is a trend we are seeing more.
Passive houses and green homes will inevitably dictate residential architecture in the next ten years with global warming and its impact on the environment.
What was your inspiration for the Black Box House? and the first question you asked to yourself when you got the assignment?
The inspiration came from Carl Andre’s art work. A study in volume, plane, and composition. We knew the clients taste and it was not hard to realize their vision for their home. The first question was, “How can we create a space that would feel open yet intimate and function for the family’s needs?”
The house features an austere and minimalistic look on the outside contrasting with the warm mid-century interior decor. Did you curate the interiors as well? If so, why you chose mid-century pieces? If not, who designed the interiors and what inspired him/her?
The mid-century pieces were a collection that the clients had amassed from their NY days. We curated and directed the aesthetics of the interior so that the scale and proportion of each furnishings worked well together with the high ceiling of the space.
What makes you proud of this project and why?
The heart and soul poured into this project, not only from our end, but from the clients and contractor, makes us proud of this project. We recently had a chance to see the clients in their home, and they were extremely pleased, which makes our effort worthwhile.
The Modernist principles still inspire many young architects, why do you think is that?
We believe the forefront of modernist principle is always being ahead of the curve and bringing something different from its predecessor. I feel that idea inspires many young architects to keep evolving those principles.