At a former garage in Nara, Japan, Yagyug Douguten worked with the simplest of spatial thresholds – doors and windows – to create a flexible dining and display space.  

Key features

In the rural, mountainous area of Nara in Japan, local interior design firm Yagyug Douguten transformed a former car repair garage into a home for advertising agency INtoOUT, with offices on the first floor and an open café/gallery at ground level. The public floor, known as Doors Yamazoe, translates the agency’s name into an exploration of opposites: inside and outside, appearance and content, entrance and exit, and past and future. Leaving traces of the building’s previous life intact, Yagyug Douguten used a series of doors and windows – ‘what exists between in and out’ – to define the largely open-plan space.

Frame’s take

Whereas some gallery spaces feel elitist and unapproachable, Doors Yamazoe exudes the opposite – an aspect aided by its dual function as a café, with coffee tables spilling out onto the street. The scale of the partitions and windows helps to humanize an otherwise utilitarian environment, creating both pockets of privacy and necessary wall space for display. Note the wheels at the foot of the partitions – a simple way to make the interior much more flexible.