from now until march 22, 2020, TOTO GALLERY·MA presents an exhibition of work from shingo masuda and katsuhisa otsubo — an architecture duo known for creating highly unique work in japan. after making a start to their career by designing a solitary fence for a house, masuda and otsubo captured the attention of the architecture community with their highly praised ‘boundary window’, which remains one of their most well-known projects.

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
view into the exhibition 3f
all images © nacása & partners inc. (unless otherwise stated)

 

 

through their work, shingo masuda and katsuhisa otsubo have demonstrated an ability to present bold solutions by focusing on specific parts of a site that can make the greatest impact on a place, such as the boundaries, windows, structure, and foundations. their approach entails making careful observations and a thorough diagnosis of the daily activities planned for a site and the existing context, pinpointing the elements that can contribute most to shaping a place, and formulating a plan for what needs to be designed.

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
boundary window 2014, chiba

 

 

titled ‘is it truly necessary?’, the solo exhibition includes a wide range of site models and mock-ups that illustrate the design process behind their early and recent work. ‘our first design project was a fence for a house,’ explains masuda and otsubo. ‘that single wall forming the boundary of the house completely changed our perception of what architecture ought to be. though the fence measuring no more than 10 meters in length was born out of earnest need, we witnessed it become intertwined with people’s everyday lives, the garden plants, and the streetscape. it occurred to us that those were the very things that needed designing the most for that home and the surrounding neighborhood.’

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
boundary window 2014, chiba
image © designboom

 

 

‘since then, we have not been interested in design as a means for giving shape to our personal visions,’ the architects continue. ‘so, what is it that we design? in this exhibition, we are laying out what we found to be the things that we needed to design in each of our projects and showing how we worked these things into their respective circumstances. we only see value in designing structures that can have a fundamental impact on a place.’

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
valextra isetan shinjuku pop-up store 2017, tokyo

 

 

‘the keys to accessing that value can be found hiding along the boundaries where different territories collide, in elements such as windows, foundations, and eaves, and within the subtle phenomena that tend to be overlooked,’ masuda and otsubo conclude. ‘by turning our sights outward and simultaneously focusing our attention on details, we challenge ourselves to reconsider what is truly necessary.’ ‘is it truly necessary?’ remains on view at TOTO GALLERY·MA until march 22, 2020.

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
aesop hibiya chanter 2017, tokyo

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
bind barn 2018, kanagawa

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
goodoffice shinagawa 2020, tokyo

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
view into the exhibition 4f

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
goodoffice shinagawa 2020, tokyo

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
aesop hibiya chanter 2017, tokyo

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
boundary window 2014, chiba
image © designboom

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
bind barn 2018, kanagawa

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
valextra isetan shinjuku pop-up store 2017, tokyo

shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo
shingo masuda (left) + katsuhisa otsubo (right)
image © designboom

 

 

exhibition info:

 

title: shingo masuda + katsuhisa otsubo: is it truly necessary?
dates: thursday, january 16 – sunday, march 22, 2020
hours: 11:00–18:00
closed: mondays and public holidays (except february 23)
admission: free
venue: TOTO GALLERY・MA
organization: TOTO GALLERY・MA
planning: TOTO GALLERY・MA planning and management committee
special advisor: tadao ando
members: kazuyo sejima, manabu chiba, yoshiharu tsukamoto, erwin viray
support: tokyo society of architects & building engineers; tokyo association of architectural firms; japan institute of architects kanto-koshinetsu chapter; architectural institute of japan kanto chapter