Small home — Japanese style

Ququri living space – loft viewRyusei Takahashi

❝ When it comes to downsized living, Tokyo has it all. From capsule hotels and compact prefabs to communal share houses, land scarcity and high property prices have pushed realtors and architects to work with limited space, resulting in tiny homes and rabbit-hole apartments cluttering the capital’s neighborhoods…

❝ There’s now a booming market for cleverly designed small apartments targeting young professionals who are happy to forgo floor space in exchange for affordable rent and inner city convenience. And in the age of Marie Kondo, there seems to be a minimalist appeal to these intricately designed studios

❝ Property, for example…designed and managed by Spilytus Co., whose Ququri series of tiny apartments have been spearheading the trend for smaller accommodations. Boasting a 99 percent occupancy rate, the company has been rapidly growing since its founding in 2012 and has seen annual revenue top ¥3 billion.

Typically comprised of 20 or so single rooms with lofts, Spilytus has built around 70 of these two-story apartments in Tokyo’s 23 wards so far. To prevent other firms from emulating its design, the firm acquired a patent last year for its method of arranging as many small dwelling units it can — ranging in size from 9 to 13 square meters — in an apartment building on a single plot of land.

Long, long ago, I was part of discussions among young poets, musicians, other artists, about what sort of minimal quarters would be satisfactory for individuals like us and our peers. We never moved ahead to discussion of more communal requirements, say, for couples and families. We got down to apartments this size in concept. But, we thought, we hoped, there could be some political resolution leading to starter dwellings – if not subsidized at least constructed at scale to keep them affordable for young individuals needing a home in a new city, seeking a career.

Fat chance.