Tokyo office space elegantly renovated with 130 pallets

Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier

Given that pallets are cheap, ubiquitous and travel well, it's little wonder that they pop up in all kinds of applications -- furniture, interiors, facades and temporary pavilions.

But what a pleasant surprise to see this renovated, 50-square-meter (538-square-foot) office interior in Tokyo, Japan, lined and furnished mostly with 130 pallets of various sizes, broken down into flooring, used in the ceiling, outside on the facade, and more. Seen over at Dezeen and done by Hiroki Tominaga Atelier for a video production company that is renting the space, the usual roughness and haphazard character of pallet wood is minimized with careful layering to create a simple, modern atmosphere.

© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier

The uncertainty of the client's lease led them to seek a low-cost renovation solution. The designers decided to use pallets after noticing deliveries being made to adjacent businesses using these sturdy materials, and realized they were not an expensive option and also could be disassembled easily. No word on how the designers dealt with potential chemicals on pallet wood (perhaps in Japan pallets are manufactured a bit differently?), but they explain:

A rule of Japanese real estate is we always have to clear up when we stop renting, so it means interiors always have negative value. Many people want to make renovation more easily and with low costs, but we only have very durable materials which are made for sustainable housing. In such situations, we needed to consider how to avoid using cheap and fake materials.

© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier

The facade is fitted with a moveable, slatted screen made out of pallets, to provide privacy for subletters, as video production company has to lease out the space on weekends to offset the expensive rent.

© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
© Hiroki Tominaga Atelier

Three different sizes of pallets were used, ranging in costs of USD $10 to $30. The use of pre-made pallets meant that a carpenter was not required, the total cost of the project, including furniture and fixtures, came in at only $2,300. Once the client's lease is finished, they plan to move their office using these same pallets. It's a well-executed use of pallets that transforms a space -- on a tight budget. More over at Dezeen and Hiroki Tominaga Atelier.

Tags: Architecture | Japan | Recycled Building Materials

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