Japanese House Sprouts Spiraling Moss Walls

by , 09/30/09

moss house, nendo, ebisu japan, Shibuya River, natural pattern, wallpaper, interiors, artistic installation

Awe-inspiring design may not grow on trees, but it sure can dress up walls! Last year, architecture and product design group Nendo Studio completed the renovation of this gorgeous Moss House private residence in the Ebisu area of Tokyo, Japan. Taking inspiration from the plant life that scales the walls lining the nearby Shibuya River, the Nendo designers used dried moss to cover the interior walls with vine-like patterns. This custom wall treatment has a vivid color, a rich textural quality, and gives the starck white corridors a sense that the are alive.

moss house, nendo, ebisu japan, Shibuya River, natural pattern, wallpaper, interiors, artistic installation

It is easy to love the lushly illustrated walls of this interior at first glance, but to truly appreciate the thought behind Nendo’s projects, we wanted to know more about this small team of Japanese designers. Formed as a partnership with a small number of associates, Oki Sato explains that ‘Nendo’ means “free-form clay, like Play-Doh, very soft, very fluid.” Sato’s group draws inspiration from natural occurrences, which to others might seem mundane. “Some people get inspiration by looking at a magazine or going somewhere far away, seeing something really different. But I really get influenced by everyday life. Just walking around my neighborhood for five minutes, I can often find something influential.”

The Moss House interior is a perfect example of their twist on vegetation as an inspiration, since it takes cues from the moss stained walls of the river sides, but uses a trendy, graphic pattern that is similar to modern wallpaper patterns. “Cladding the walls entirely in moss would simply have been too much. We wanted something in-between, so we applied the moss in a pattern that looked like wallpaper, creating an ambiguous texture that’s neither artificial nor natural.” In order to unify all the small rooms of the house, the same graphic pattern is emulated on door frames and cable outlets. We can imagine that this repetition was surely a design risk to take, but Nendo Studio hit the mark with their sophisticated use of natural materials and pattern.

moss house, nendo, ebisu japan, Shibuya River, natural pattern, wallpaper, interiors, artistic installation

The Nendo Studio designers are also the creators of the ‘1%’ lines of products, lighting, and furniture. These minimal and witty products get their name from the fact that there are only 100 of each in production. The idea is that owning one of the pieces is like having a 1% stake in the product, and also gives them an artistic and exclusive nature. It is easy to see that a product like their Cabbage Chair has the same thought process as the Moss House, with its subtly decorative and playful nature that pays homage to plant life.

+ Nendo Studio

Via BlueAntStudio

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  1. Linda Pompei December 27, 2009 at 12:09 am

    This is a great look. Can anyone tell me if this is a consumer product, how it comes and what it may cost?

  2. Linda Pompei December 27, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Is this moss a product that can be cut into the trailing vine designs? Does anyone know where it might be available and much it might cost?

  3. pangaea-id.com November 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Well, this really has me thinking. I love using natural elements in my interiors. I don’t know if it is really harvested from the wild or if it is grown or “farmed” for decorative uses. Beautiful though.

  4. Liza Friedman September 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    a few years ago when i lived in japan i was fortunate enough to be acquainted by a doctor who was researching how to ‘rapid gro’ moss to then be sprayed onto the tops and sides of buildings. moss is a ‘supereater’ for carbon dioxine/monoxide and they’ve been developing it as a part of japan’s committment to the kyoto protocol. he had hoped that it would catch on as a decorative thing as well, so here’s hopeing!

  5. Kirsten@Nexyoo September 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

    That looks beautiful, but I think it’s important to point out that using moss isn’t really a sustainable choice in design. Moss is harvested from the wild, where it’s a critical part of forest ecosystems. It grows very slowly, so removing it really does have a large impact. A different material would be a better choice.

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