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OPEN! FURNITURE is a project to discover new possibilities for public spaces in Minato City through a small scale urban design initiative.   By collaborating with local people and organisations, we hope to create a more active urban landscape oriented towards the scale of community, through the design, construction and installation of public furniture in our city. We will create a place where furniture can be used as a communication tool that encourages people to interact to make a peaceful place in the city.

Let us give you a bench for your space !

This year we are looking to broaden the scope of the OPEN ! FURNITURE by involving more and more local people and organisations. We are using the idea of a bench as a basic platform for generating new pockets of public space, and encouraging new forms of connection between people and the city. 

We are looking for local people living or working in Minato-ku to join the project by taking up ownership of a piece of semi-public furniture. The main idea is that we donate a piece of custom designed furniture to you, (for free!) and you utilise the furniture in a way that encourages a new kind of public interaction. 

We are looking for people interested in creating community and those who want to contribute to the lively city in which we live in. With the urban fabric changing so drastically around us, we hope to ensure that the simple human scale is not forgotten. We hope that by creating this network of semi-public benches: put in the hands of dedicated people, we can make our urban environment a little more friendly! 

1.  OPEN ! CALL 

Recruitment Period : August 7th - September 7th

All you need to do is nominate yourself to be willing to join in this program. We are looking for a diversity of people, including shop owners, company staff, service industry workers and local residents who are willing to manage the furniture based on the following conditions: 

○ Those who own/manage a space in Minato-ku
○ Organizations and individuals who can manage a bench in a space where members of the public are allowed to access and use the furniture.
○ Those who can participate in a casual hearing session before Saturday September 7.
○ Those who can particpate in events on Friday September 13 and Saturday, October 19!

We hope that by joining the project, it will OPEN ! up your place to new people and new possibilities for living together in Minato-ku.


September 13 (Friday) 10:00 - 16: 00

We will take the designers and craftsmen to each confirmed site in order to get a better understanding of where the furniture will be used. After each hearing session, we will come up with a customised version of the bench design for each site.

* This is a closed event, it is not open to the public. 


October 19th (Sat) 10:00 - 16: 00

The completed furniture will be installed on each site !

First, the furniture will be assembled at SHIBAURA HOUSE, before being transported by the participants to each location.  The OPEN! FURNITURE map will also be released on this day.

Target: For local people and those interested in community, design and urban planning.
Participation fee: [General] 1,500 yen / [Minato-ku resident / working] [Student discount] 1,000 yen
Meeting place: SHIBAURA HOUSE 1F
Application: Please fill out the necessary information from the “Join” button and apply.


November 19th (Sat) 19:00 - 22: 00

We would like to invite all participants  and collaborators back to SHIBAURA HOUSE to critically review the project, and give feedback from different perspectives. We hope each designer can also reflect on the process. We would liek to hold the first part of the event at SHIBAURA HOUSE, and the after party by the canal, using the furniture we made.

Target: For local people and those interested in community, design and urban planning.
Participation fee: [General] 1,500 yen / [Minato-ku resident / working] [Student discount] 1,000 yen
Meeting place: SHIBAURA HOUSE 1F
Application: Please fill out the necessary information from the “Join” button and apply.

NOTE - We will inform you of any sudden changes due to weather etc. on the day via SHIBAURA HOUSE's Facebook page and Twitter.

Organizer: Tokyo Cultural Center
Support: Minato City Cultural Arts Activity Support Project Subsidy
Cooperation: SHIBAURA HOUSE / TORAFU ARCHITECTS / Ishinomaki Kobo


09/13(Fri) 10:00 〜 16:00


10/19(Sat) 10:00 〜 16:00


Project Information 

OPEN! FURNITURE is a community design project led by members of the SHIBAURA HOUSE, supported by the local Minato City council. The project is operated together with Torafu Architects, and Ishinomaki Kobo.  By collaborating with local citizens of Minato-ku we hope to create a more active urban landscape, oriented towards the scale of community, through the design, construction and installation of public furniture in our city. 


Project Members



SHIBAURA HOUSE was built in 2011 and marks a pivotal point in the transition of the company. The company has a long history in the local area, and continues to work in printing and graphic design. After compaletion of the new building, the company created a Community Lab, that is tasked with building community in the local area, as well as building relations with broader networks through the faciltiaion of events, workshops and research projects. 



Founded in 2004 by Koichi Suzuno and Shinya Kamuro, TORAFU ARCHITECTS employs a working approach based on architectural thinking. Works by the duo include a diverse range of products, from architectural design to interior design, exhibition space design, product design, spatial installations and film making. 



Ishinomaki Laboratory is a furniture brand that pushes the horizons of DIY through the power of design. Along with developing, making, and selling products, we create original spaces and share our experiences around the world – striving to build the future one step at a time. Founded in 2011, Ishinomaki Laboratory started as a simple, public workshop for the local community devastated by the tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake.


info@shibaurahouse.jp  (to: Patrick Wheare)

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