As the discourse about the way we work continues past the original pandemic concern and past the hybrid, remote, or what was once called traditional office space; employers and employees alike are still revisiting mental comfort requirements of a post-pandemic worker. While there are many types of work environments and worker needs that have to be addressed separately (besides the white-collar or knowledge worker), from a design and policies front; one particular, newborn model has been popping up in recent years, thus far seen through some unique, smallscale yet norm challenging Japanese offices.
Light serves an essential purpose in architecture: to help us see. Whether it be through natural or artificial methods, rooms must be illuminated accordingly so occupants can safely inhabit them and fulfill their daily functions. When the right system is selected, light can also contribute to energy efficiency and sustainability within the building as a whole. However, apart from its evident functional and environmental value, lighting design can vastly impact the visual comfort and aesthetic tone of interiors by drawing attention to textures, enhancing colors and defining volumes. Therefore, of the many pieces involved in interior design, lighting is certainly one that can enhance or destroy a space and even affect users’ well-being, which is why it should be considered a crucial design element by itself.
Examining the work of Tokyo architect Toyo Ito (b. 1941) – particularly his now seminal Sendai Mediatheque (1995-2001), Serpentine Gallery (London, 2002, with Cecil Balmond), TOD's Omotesando Building (Tokyo, 2004), Tama Art University Library (Tokyo, 2007), and National Taichung Theater (2009-16) – will immediately become apparent these buildings’ structural innovations and spatial, non-hierarchical organizations. Although these structures all seem to be quite diverse, there is one unifying theme – the architect’s consistent commitment to erasing fixed boundaries between inside and outside and relaxing spatial divisions between various programs within. There is continuity in how these buildings are explored. They are conceived as systems rather than objects and they never really end; one could imagine their formations and patterns to continue to evolve and expand pretty much endlessly.