top of page
  • Writer's pictureAnji Connell

Feast For The Senses: No Dog, No Life

World-class architect's designs for dogs were "unleashed" at Japan House London this September.

The Architecture for Dogs Exhibition at Japan House London is an absolute delight—— dog-scaled architecture designed by world-class architects — where amazingly, your four-legged friends can join you in trying out the collection of design-led dog beds straight from the minds of architectural luminaries including Shigeru Ban, Sou Fujimoto, Kazuyo Sejima, Ma Yansong Toyō Ito, and Kengo Kuma.

Architecture for Dogs is the brainchild of Hara Kenya, the Japan House chief creative advisor. The project launched in 2012 at Design Miami. Since then, the exhibition has toured Japan, China, and Brazil, gaining global acclaim.

Each piece of doggie architecture has been designed for a specific dog breed to suit the breed's personality, temperament, and characteristics; overall, the modus operandi is to capture the quality of the relationship between dogs and their people. The exhibition offers an insightful exploration of how dogs and their human companions can be happiest through interaction with specially designed architectural pieces that are — so much more than a dog kennel. Breeds include the Beagle, Bichon Frise, Shiba Inu, Boston Terrier, and Poodle.

Kenya Hara's contribution 'D-TUNNEL' is inspired by his fond memories of a childhood pet. Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV's contribution titled 'A New Home For Snoopy?' is a playful take on a dog house with an interactive toy. It is a stimulating environment for the intelligent beagle breed to enjoy. 'Who's The Prettiest Of Them All?' is Konstantin Grcic's response to poodles vanity and the love of their reflection; it features a fun mirror-led structure for pooches to gaze at themselves adoringly. Inspired by the Bichon Frise's distinct fur, 'Candy Floss Cocoon' is Kazuyo Sejima's way of blending the dog and the structure into one, providing a safe space for the breed to relax.

The London exhibition has a brand new piece by eminent UK architect, Asif Kahn, the 16th creative, to join the project.

SOU FUJIMOTO's 'No Dog No Life' is 'the house where the dog lives,'' inside the house where the people who own the dog live'- its a living space for dogs, furniture for humans, an indoor garden as well as a gentle boundary between the owner and the dog. It serves as a framework for humans and dogs to proactively live and interact together.

Khan's "I See You" has a minimalist seamless black felt surface that features a crater in which a dog can nestle—designed to sit in the middle of the room, so as the dog is 'the center of attention.' It is crafted from felted sheep's wool to attract canine interest through smell, with a big circular skirt spreading on the ground, specially designed to meet the dog's nose-first. "I See You' is not intended for a specific dog breed; however, dyed black, it creates a playful camouflage for a black dog to disappear inside.

Pointed T is a floating doghouse made from paper designed for a Japanese terrier by designer Misawa Haruka.

Mount Pug is an imaginative nest and playground for a pug created by internationally renowned Japanese architect Kuma Kengo; its organic structure is sturdy, despite being made without a single nail.

D-Tunnel by exhibition director and Japan House Creative Advisor Hara Kenya is designed for a teacup poodle. An embedded staircase helps bring small dogs and their human companion's eye to eye.

Beagle House – Interactive Dog House is a playful take on a classic kennel designed by Rotterdam-based architectural firm MVRDV for a beagle, with a curved, gently rocking frame that provides a stimulating environment for the intelligent dog.

Architecture for Long-Bodied-Short-Legged Dog by Tokyo-based practice Atelier Bow-Wow is for a dachshund. The sloped structure allows the short-legged dog to climb the frame with ease, while the piece's length enables the owner to lie down next to their dog.

Design a doghouse.

Guests also have the opportunity to become designers and makers themselves, with DIY blueprints available for download and the chance to design your architecture for your dogs.

For those unable to visit Japan House, there is virtual content, an online 3D tour, online talks,' live' guided tours, as well as a touring exhibition of interactive architectural pieces to some of London's most popular dog-walking sites through the autumn.

Our loyal, four-legged friends are proving their value as comforting companions more so than ever during lockdown and how wonderful that we are all able to download these fun, immersive, and functional dog houses for our furry friends to enjoy.

Torafu Architects Piece is named "Wanmock" a in Japanese, a dog says, "wan," [rather than woof] the name "Wanmock" combines the woof sound with the piece's hammock style. The Wanmock is for small dogs. An old T-shirt acts as the hammock while the fabric's smell and feel helps your dog feel at ease.

The exhibition brings a smile to your face; it's my favourite show so far this year. Watching the dog's reaction is captivating; some dogs are boisterous and fearless, while others are incredibly wary.

The list of architects and their downloadable designs can be found HERE.

The exhibition continues until January 10, 2021.

WHERE: Japan House, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA

This article first appeared online, on Home Journal's website, on October 20, 2020.


bottom of page