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A cup of tea with... Geneto

We meet Koji Yamanaka, founder of the Geneto studio.

We became passionate about their work after seeing the YMT-House project in which the volumetric distribution of the various living spaces creates a play of unevennesses that intersect with harmony. Architecture becomes distribution, container, furniture ...

In projects dear to designers, such as L'angolino,

the architects tried to design an iconic restaurant that would be a novelty for the context by creating an unprecedented form. While for TANADA Piece Gallery the various functions were designed by creating various ups and downs on the floor, hence the term Tanada (or terraced rice fields). Each of their work is at the service of the various needs of the client and the use that will be made of that space.


Let's start with the first question to break the ice: How do you get your tea?

Well, we usually drink coffee everyday.

But if we have a guest, we serve Japanese tea. A bit expensive Japanese tea.

To this day, what do you think is your most significant and representative work of your design approach? Is there a project that you consider emblematic to tell who are you?

The most important projects in my career are TANADA Piece Gallery, Scan, and L’angolino.

Before and after graduation, I was very interested in physicality and architecture, and architecture itself can not create a true rich space for people, it mixes with the scales and materials close to the human body, such as clothing and furniture. It seemed to me that the space completed with these aspects would become rich. Thus, the previously named three projects are completely different in structure, scale, and program, but these are monumental projects filled with my ideas and tasks, and ideas and tasks of GENETO.

Geneto_ TANADA piece gallery : Photo © Kenichi Higuchi.

Geneto_ L’angolino : Photo © Yasutake Kondo

What do you think is a decisive project (of others) for your professional career? Who do you consider your teacher or an important reference for your work?

There are several works that are interesting as projects in general, and not just to a specific architect. Reflecting on my work, I consider the main thing in my approach to understand the importance of the environment.

For example, I learned from an early age about the area that people cannot create in places such as rocky mountains and places where there are roots of large trees.

And to this day I experience the influence of the environment in various projects.

Geneto_ scan : Photo © Masato Kawano (Nacasa&Partners)

What will be the direction for the future of Japanese home architecture? Climate change, the aging of the population, the evolution of our daily habits due to the pandemic, which changes can affect the living spaces of tomorrow and how?

We believe that housing development can happen due to the pandemic. In particular, the houses that combine work and living space (addition of a workplace due to remote work).

As an example, looking back at the history of housing in Japan, people's lives and homes have responded flexibly to various factors, such as epidemics and westernization after the opening of the country.

The Corona pandemic has definitely influenced the need to change the place of work, that is, to create an environment in which part of the house becomes a workplace.

And this affects spending time with family. A few years ago in Japan, every company was required to carry out a "work style reform”* under the leadership of the government, and the results have permeated today's Japanese society - with all the pros and cons.

However, in today's pandemic, the human environment must surpass this and seek new everyday life, with the integration of housing and work.

* Work Style Reform (働き方改革)- Considering the declining working population, it's important to promote workstyle reforms to help women and elderly workers play more active roles [in society], as well as raise wages.)


Geneto - kojiYAMANAKA 

1979 Born in Kyoto, Japan

2000 Graduated from BA Architecture at Kyoto Seika University

2004 Found GENETO architects office

2014 to present : Associate professor at Osaka Seikei University.

add: 3F Furukawa Bldg., 466 Miyagi-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-8275 mail: info(at) URL:


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