MMA Inc, Japan: Wallpaper * Architects Guide 2022
Who: MMA Inc
As a child, Momoko Kudo, president of MMA Inc in Tokyo, dreamed of working in the theater. I spent much of my upbringing in Switzerland, and my mother would take me to see a lot of plays. I really loved the intimacy on stage. After five years at MHS Planners, Architects & Engineers, including a stint in Vietnam working on hotel projects, Kudo returned to school and completed his master’s degree at Terunobu Fujimori Studio at Kogakuin University. She says, ‘I was really lucky to be able to work with Fujimori. For some reason I was one of the few people he chose to interview for the degree, and luckily I got a place.
After graduation, Kudo set up MMA Inc in 2016. “First, I called my practice of architects Momoko Kudo, but architecture is a collaborative effort and I didn’t want to take credit for all the great work the staff contributed, so I changed the name to MMA , she explains.
One of the pillars of MMA Inc’s work is the constant search for the perfect material. The love for touch is always evident, with every surface being carefully considered on all studio projects. Commercial commissions include work for Issey Miyake and cosmetics brand Three, while the studio also designs exhibitions for museums and pop-ups, as well as single-family homes for private clients—including House in Hasami (below).
What: a house in Hasami
This small family home in the southern Japanese city of Housami is the second in what Kudo calls the “Box Series” (the first was completed in 2018). The “boxes” of four different sizes were placed slightly skewed in the plan to form the footprint of the house. The client loves to entertain, and common areas such as the kitchen, dining and lounge are kept on the spacious ground floor, while the bedrooms for the family of four are located on a more compact and subdivided upper level. Placing the “boxes” off-center creates diverse outdoor spaces, and the large roof (divided into two parts) brings everything together harmoniously.
Inside, there is a slightly sunken seating area that reduces sight lines towards the surrounding greenery to almost ground level. This, combined with the floor-to-ceiling windows, creates an impression of spaciousness. Exterior details, small but significant, such as the slight rounding of the corners on the simple vertical cedar planks, which match the rounded foundation and compacted soil around the perimeter of the house, help keep the house elegant and give a contemporary feel, with the use of simple, modest materials. The ceiling’s thin, round, vertical steel support beams add another modern touch, contrasting beautifully with the vernacular cedar facets.
Why: Architects Guide 2022
Created in 2000 as an international indicator of emerging architectural talent, Wallpaper* Architects’ Guide is our annual list of promising practices from around the world. While always championing the most promising young studios, the project over the years has showcased inspiring work with a focus on the residential field. Including now over 500 alumni, the Directory of Architects is back for its 22nd edition. Join us as we launch a survey this year – twenty young studios from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Paraguay, Thailand, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam with lots of promise, exciting ideas and architecture.