A House Of All Things Japanese Opens In Kensington

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 38 months ago

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A House Of All Things Japanese Opens In Kensington
One of Sou Fujimoto's models in the exhibition.

Sushi, more teas than we can count, anime, minimalist design and architecture. It's fair to say we're massive fans of many Japanese exports here at Londonist.

So it's fantastic to see Japan House open up close to High Street Kensington station, bringing a slice of Japan to our doorstep across three floors.

The shop floor where all products are sourced from Japan. Copyright Lee Mawdsley

The ground floor is a shop selling loads of imported goods from books to those little boxes that sake cups overflow into — we needed the help of Google to find out they're called masu. More impressive than the products on display is the whole clean and minimalist aesthetic of the place, every item is spaced out and there's even a tree within its own glass cubicle.

Upstairs is a restaurant named Akira — alas, named after a chef rather than the seminal anime and manga —  and while we haven't had the chance to sample any cuisine we're already planning a return visit, the food looked that tempting.

Some of the dishes available at Akira.

Downstairs contains a curated library and an event space for performances and film screenings. The real highlight is the gallery space containing an exhibition of architectural models by Sou Fujimoto.

If his name sounds familiar it's because he designed the Serpentine Pavilion in 2013, it was white and made of overlapping lattices so it looked like a giant cloud from a distance.

The lovely layout of the Sou Fujimoto exhibition. Copyright Lee Mawdsley

The exhibition contains a selection of small models and they are beautiful designs: including a MC Escher-esque collection of intersecting staircases and a sprawling collection of circular walkways.

When we spoke to Fujimoto it became clear he's still a man who values fun and creating for the sake of it when designing models — there's sponge transformed into a climbing wall and wrappers scrunched up and made into landscapes by placing miniature people upon it.

The Escher-esque Fujimoto model.

It's the first of what is planned to be a series of exhibitions by Japanese artists and it's off to an excellent start.

If all that hasn't got Japanophiles excited enough, Japan House also has Japanese toilets. For those of us in the know we're aware of how special they are, for those that aren't let's just say it comes with a control panel and the lid opens as you approach.

Japan House is at 101-111 Kensington High Street and is open seven days a week from 22 June. Entrance to the house and the exhibition is free. Sou Fujimoto: Future of futures is on until 5 August.

Last Updated 22 June 2018