Sfera Building / Claesson Koivisto Rune

© Courtesy of

Architects: Claesson Koivisto Rune
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Project team: Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto, Ola Rune, Kumi Nakagaki, Patrick Coan
Client: Shigeo Mashiro, Ricordi & Sfera co., ltd.
Contractor: Sugawara Construction co., ltd.
Total floor area: 1,200 sqm
Project Year: 2003
Photographs: Åke E:son Lindman, Nacasa & Partners inc., Johan Fowelin

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The Sfera Building is a culture centre in Gion containing an art gallery, a design shop, an art book and music store, restaurants, offices and a café.

© Courtesy of Claesson Koivisto Rune
© Courtesy of Claesson Koivisto Rune

Gion is the traditional district of Kyoto. The centuries old low, wooden houses share a typical feature: the sunscreen, made of bamboo, wood or rice paper. We wanted to find a way to make a screen that did the same thing, but in a new way. We picked some leaves from a small cherry tree. In our office, we laid the cherry leaves on a light-table and photographed them. Our leaf image transformed, with the help of computers, into a punched-hole pattern. The resulting facades were a ”leaf screen” that had a monolithic appearance, yet was actually transparent: a veil, creating an intricate play of light and shadow on the interior.

© Courtesy of Claesson Koivisto Rune

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Cite: "Sfera Building / Claesson Koivisto Rune" 09 Sep 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=76863>