sneak peek: oki sato’s moss house


ever since i visited japan several years ago i’ve had a fascination with japanese design and its relative simplicity.  there is still so much i have to learn, but today is a step in the right direction.  this “moss house” sneak peek comes from oki sato who is behind nendo, a tokyo-based firm specializing in architecture, interiors, product, graphic, furniture and event design. read on for more about the inspiration behind the special moss treatment. {thanks oki and akihiro!} -anne

update: The wall pattern made of dried moss is designed by Asami Kiyokawa (Oki’s wife and a famous Japanese artist).

{photos by daici ano}

[about: This project involved renovating an old wooden house on the Shibuya River in Tokyo’s Ebisu neighbourhood into a live-work space. The house had accumulated some strange and wonderful features -an inner courtyard, an oddly long hallway, a tiny room- from a series of earlier renovations, so we decided to build on these earlier features, but also to “acclimate” the space to the new owner’s [Oki Sato] lifestyle. The hallway became a study, and the small Japanese-style room a studio. Veins of moss pattern the riverbank outside the windows, so we used similar veins of dry moss on the interior walls to subtly connect existing spaces with newly-renovated ones, and the house’s interior environment to its exterior one. Most wallpaper imitates nature through a two-dimensional representation of it, and 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. The same pattern appears on the cable outlet, and on the door frames and door handles of the office, further synthesizing the moss pattern with the space.]


CLICK HERE for the rest of the moss house sneak peek after the jump!






So incredible. Nendo’s exhibit at MAD in NYC last month was really amazing too. I’d die for one of their chairs.

Nikko Moy

This is really far out and awesome. -They MUST have a whole house humidifier in order to keep all that moss all happy!


Wow, this is incredible!

What care does the moss need to make sure it doesn’t brown?


Love this! so cool, yes please on the DIY and care info of this amazing wall treatment.

Jesse Lu

This is kinda cool… but I’m a little overwhelmed by the monotony of it all. And kinda like, won’t it fall off in little mossy flakes, and why wouldn’t a similar wallpaper have worked? I dunno. I love moss… and Japanese minimalism… but I dunno, something just feels, uncozy, to me and kinda unrealistic. Interesting idea though. ;) I bet it would look even more awesome outdoors, in a courtyard on cement walls or something.


Pretty to look at , but how do you care for it??? Wouldnt it dry out, and flake off, be a home for bugs? or smell musty?? Sorry to be so practical, and down to earth , in a different way.


I have to agree with Jesse Lu and Bernie. Cool idea but is it healthy? (fungus, bugs & stuff)
And the same pattern everywhere… Personally I would never use the same wallpaper throughout my whole house. I would love to have just one wall like this though!


This is the coolest thing ever. I’ve always wanted to have a house with vines covering the outside walls but hadn’t thought of using moss in the interior. Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland in a way too, but I’m not quite sure why….


This is preserved moss that has adhesive backing. Kinda like contact paper. We have it at our store, and ironically we have vines on our walls as well.


Great first impression and big visual/textural impact. But applied in a live/work space, I fail to see the practicality. Nevertheless, sometimes the most powerful art is far from practical!


I don’t think that art is about practicality, so as an art piece, this is wonderful. I love the idea of incorporating nature indoors. Japanese designers do it so well. Japan has a very moist climate so I don’t think flaking would be an issue.


Really love the moss, the only problem is (what i’ve been told by biologists) is that moss is a kind of sponge that goes into your airways and you shouldn’t have it inside.. I juse it a lot when doing outdoor graffiti. Really like this house though :)


Good for them for thinking outside the box, but I don’t like the moss. It reminds me of mildew or something else that does not belong there.It looks creepy-crawly.


LOVE. Love it so much. The mirror is my favourite. I’m sure it makes the space look massive and acts a great looking “space” divider. Its just beautiful.


everything is gorgeous…but why did they choose the hokey banister? it clashes with every other inch of the house?


Pretty…but how would you keep it clean? Maybe on a garden wall would be a more practical idea.


This is AMAZING. I had to post it.. Marsha, or anyone else that can help. Can you post a link and let me know where I can buy the preserved moss sheets with the adhesive backing? I only found the ones on line without the adhesive. Thanks a bunch!