House Vision is an exhibition/forum, created in Japan in 2013, to “re-define urban living,” as a central and most advanced juncture, where product/service providers (industries) meet their recipients (residents – consumers – members of community/society).

Its ambitious goal is to help shape our future through the act of “living,” which touches every single individual in our society.

entranceHouse Vision entrance. Built in Tokyo Bay area, it exhibited 12 real-life models to show what our future would look like through “living”

House Vision was conceived and directed by Kenya Hara, a prominent Japanese graphic designer, and a pivotal member of the Advisory Board for MUJI. (He helped shape MUJI’s philosophy based on “emptiness” – see Chapter 3.) The exhibition site was designed by Kengo Kuma.

Kenya Hara,  Exhibition Director

Designer, Kenya Hara (b. 1958) emphasizes the design of both on objects and experiences.  In 2002, he became a member of MUJI’s advisory board and began acting as its art director. Go to About/Hara Design Institute for more details.

President, the Nippon Design Center, Inc.
Professor at Musashino Art Universtiy
President, Japan Design Committee Co., Ltd.
Vice President, Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc.

Photo by Yoshiaki Tsutusi

Kengo Kuma,  Exhibition Design

Kengo Kuma (b. 1954) is an architect and professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo.  He established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990 in Japan, and Kengo Kuma & Associates Europe in Paris, France in 2008.

Visit this page to take a look at some of his works.

House Vision held its inaugural exhibition in Tokyo in 2013, featuring pronounced Japanese architects, including Shigeru Ban and Toyo Ito, the Pritzker Architecture Prize-winners, who collaborated with industry leaders such as MUJI and HONDA.

I went to Tokyo, Japan in August 2016, to cover House Vision’s 2nd exhibition.  The theme of the 2nd House Vision was “Co-divisual,” meaning staying connected when separated, and getting together when being far-apart.

It aimed to offer a completely new vision to re-integrate today’s society, which faces two unprecedented and conflicting phenomena: 1) extraordinary material/informational abundance and enjoyment, enabled by technology, and 2) isolation, division and excessive individualism that plagues people’s lives like never before. Surrounding those issues are even larger risks we face today such as climate change, demographic change (rapid population growth in certain areas, while population decreases and ages in other areas), and change in resource supply (shortage of energy, food, water etc).


House Vision 2.  Architecture made of wood blocks are designed by Kengo Kuma. You can see MUJI’s Tanada terrace house at the center.

Watch “About House Vision” by Exhibition Director Kenya Hara with English subtitle.

As it could be assumed from Hara and Kuma’s philosophy (“emptiness” and “architecture that loses”), House Vision is full of alternatives for “bigger, harder and stronger” architecture, to answer the delicate question of how to balance connectedness and disconnectedness.

For the sake of our project, the exhibits (12 of them) are divided into three categories: 1) technology as our new skin, 2) dissolving boundaries, and 3) going nomadic. Most of the contents will come online later this year. 

Technology as our new skin

The first group introduced here takes a deep-dive into the relationship of state-of-the-art technology and human living. There is no doubt that technology is rapidly penetrating us. It’s no longer something we access when we need it; it’s now our new skin that envelops us 24/7. How does our life look like when this new skin becomes the norm?

Dissolving boundaries

When technology becomes our new skin, conventional boundaries start dissolving because they are no longer needed. If defining explicit boundaries was the key feature in the modern economy, technology makes them ambiguous, unleashing new opportunities: house dissolves into the environment, ownership dissolves into shared assets, private dissolves into public, and workplace dissolves into living space.

Going nomadic

When physical and mental boundaries dissolve, it becomes much easier to go places.  Security and stability may no longer have to be tied to fixed locations such as home and office.  When boundaries dissolve, new types of flexibility emerges where being nomadic can be the norm.