About the House H of Sou Fujimoto
Pasajes Diseño #20, May, 2010

Photo by Iwan Baan.

And so the friend asks to the little girl as soon as they get in, "so where is the terrace? Because I guess your parents asked for a terrace in your new house, didn't they?". The little girl, breathing deeply, answers abruptly and without a break in a somehow condescending manner: "my terrace, with a window on the ceiling and another on the floor, is next to our bathroom with the pool next to our secret room on top of the living room next to my room which is next to my parent’s even though they are just like one and just on top of the entrance but next to the dining room by the side of the kitchen next to the hall right on top of the library, just there."
The friend, from whom I won’t say the age for well-mannered reasons but also because the expression of her face would be the same if she were 4 or 40 years old, does not know exactly what to think. "Is she nuts? Or does she have some strange disease? Poor girl."
But the little girl looks at her absolutely impassive with her tiny chin up as if she would have been clinically precise on her observation. So then, and while the little girl’s parents come back to have a cup of tea with their old friend, both the friend and the little hostess tread into the house holding hands. She, the friend, thinks that at last, after so long looking at all those minimalist houses with such clean lines and perfectly tidy in those famous interior design and lifestyle magazines, she will be able to enjoy one of them in first person. But she also keeps deep in her heart some sort of envy of her friends because she has not been the first one among all her friends to build a house so-simple (just look at the facade!), especially now that is so fashionable and therefore, taking everybody’s attention. And you know, you cannot ask for nothing better when you build something new in Tokyo.
But even more than feeling envy she wonders why precisely these friends, the most peculiar ones as they like to call them, are the ones who have decided to make it. You need a strong commitment - where will they hang their pictures and keep the little girl’s toys? - and an iron education so the everyday life doesn’t ruin the house. And, let’s be honest, she keeps thinking, this family is not exactly the most appropriate for this. They seem quite… loose. She has played with several names to describe them, but she always prefers loose to weird, mainly because her friends most probably would get offended, and she doesn’t want that, now more than ever, that they will become her very best friends.
Pleasantly surprised by the lack of doors between the kitchen and the dining room (so spacious!) the friend starts haunting the little girl who has started to climb the stairs furiously, and before she knows what has happened, she has lost her from her sight while she has been trying to get her bearings in this new environment. Obviously, the transparent ceilings over the entrance and the kitchen don’t help. And while she listens to the little steps getting lost over her head, it looks like the little girl has just passed in front on her, flying. But of course, that’s impossible, so she gets closer to the dinning room from where she sees the living room with a comfortable couch, perfect for a little break while she waits for her friends to come back to their house.
And then, just when she sits down and it seems that everything gets back to normal, when her mind starts to create a mental map of what she has seen and begins to enjoy again, she catches sight of a wooden stair going nowhere at the same time that her friends arrive and greet her from the hall.
The friend, trying to stay calm, heads to the dinning room where she meets them, and at that exact moment, she realizes she doesn’t know what to say. Is this really the "less is more" that she heard so often and was so much looking forward to see? She feels kind of embarrassed of herself so she prefers to say nothing and sit at the table and wait for the cup of tea. But her friends are so nice that soon they start talking happily and slowly she forgets where she is.
And so again, after a quick glance at the lamps hanging from the ceiling, there she is, lying, flying over their heads, the little hostess. That’s it. Despite her thinking of her as a poor troubled little girl, it is at this very moment when she realizes that everything the little girl said in a really long sentence is true. That she is about to see a room next to another with glass floors that are as well transparent ceilings of other rooms, windows that don’t look outside but into other rooms, stairs that go nowhere and a bathroom with a pool.
Everything in this house is unbelievable hard for her, someone with a life under control, someone living permanently in the adult world, someone who knows what to think.
And then before leaving she tells them "it’s been such a pleasure to visit your house, I will come back very soon" while the little girl says goodbye from the landing of the stairs that go nowhere.
Once outside the house on her way home, she starts thinking about her friends and the kind of life to come for them in that house. She can’t understand why she felt so terribly sad when she wished them luck. It was perhaps the house that made her feel that way. But now she understands she won’t be able to stop thinking that she is the one who needs that luck.