Kengo Kuma is bringing his love for wooden architecture to a whole different scale—a much smaller and adorable scale. The Japanese architect, who recently won the bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium, created Tsumiki, a minimalist and beautiful kit of building blocks that his firm playfully refers to as “Japanese Lego.” Kuma collaborated with the More Trees conservation group to create the building toys, which were crafted from Forest Stewardship-certified Japanese cedar.
Unlike Lego’s plastic bricks, the triangular Tsumiki—Japanese for building blocks—are made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. Two chevron-shaped cutouts on each Tsumiki leg make it easy for the pieces to slot together. The blocks can be stacked and arranged in a variety of configurations, including pyramids, animals, and flowers. “I have loved tsumiki my whole life, ever since I was a young boy,” said Kuma, 61, according to Dezeen. “And my dream came true, I designed tsumiki myself, the sort which hadn’t existed before.”
Kengo Kuma & Associates also collaborated with the more trees forest conservation group on the Tsumiki Pavilion, which recreates the building blocks on a large scale. The temporary installation was displayed at Tokyo Midtown’s DESIGN TOUCH event. More Trees is currently selling the Tsumiki kit online in packs of 13 for around $74 USD.
Images via Kengo Kuma & Associates, © Ikunori Yamamoto