tadao ando, sou fujimoto, and SANAA's architecture recreated as japanese bento boxes

tadao ando, sou fujimoto, and SANAA's architecture recreated as japanese bento boxes

Architectural bento boxes from japan


The Bento Architecture design collective – comprising Sekiya Takumi, Oishi Shohei, Iida Eimi, and Sakamoto Shunta – in Japan has recreated the architecture by revered Japanese architects such as Tadao Ando, Sou Fujimoto, and SANAA into food-filled bento boxes. Their playful approach to eating meals has brought in puzzle-looking bento boxes that people can dine in or lug with them.


The four-membered Bento Box design studio says it plans to design a new bento experience by turning some of the famous architecture in Japan into lunch boxes and delivering them to the world. Bento boxes dedicated to Tadao Ando, Sou Fujimoto, and SANAA might only be their introduction. ‘We believe by designing new bento boxes, we can design new bento experiences, and we hope to introduce famous Japanese architecture to the world in the form of bento boxes,’ says the group.

bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
images courtesy of Bento Architecture | photos by Ko Tsunoda and Kakuta Wataru (unless stated)



Tadao Ando’s Row House bento box


Tadao Ando’s Row House in Sumiyoshi is offered as the first lunch box of Bento Architecture. The architecture is replicated on two levels, with four distinct spaces and its own patio. The bento box’s cross-section reveals the open courtyard, allowing diners to see the bed of rice and side dishes. ‘Rekindle the excitement of opening the bento box. Not just from above, but also from the side,’ says the group.


A courtyard divides the two-storey bento box into two sections, creating four fully different places. It has a bridge that joins the spaces separated by the courtyard. The chopsticks move back and forth between the rice and side dishes, just like residents moving between their bedrooms and living room.


The Row House in Sumiyoshi is the debut work of Tadao Ando whose distinctive feature emerges from the open courtyard in the middle. On rainy days, this house requires to use an umbrella to use the restroom across the courtyard. This design team made the bento box as a way to appreciate the open and closed spaces of Ando’s architecture.


bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
row house in sumiyoshi section drawing and the scale model | image © designboom



Sou Fujimoto’s Tokyo Apartment bento box


Sou Fujimoto’s Tokyo Apartment is a housing complex made up of a series of small houses a collection of small spaces. ‘What if we were to gather small bento boxes together to form a single bento box? What kind of food experience would be created?’ asks the group.


The result comes through a series of bento pieces that can be stacked and removed to reveal and conceal the food. Small bento boxes make up one large bento box. When lined up one by one, they become the centerpiece of the table, an analogy that the group compares to a dining table with many side dishes.


‘It’s just one bento box, but it’s many bento boxes. This is a bento box that creates a new way of gathering together,’ says the group. Along with Fujimoto’s architecture, the design team also draws upon the melting pot in Tokyo driven by people from different cultures. Rather than squeezing them all into one room, the bento is a collection of independent spaces. 


bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto



SANAA’s Museum of Contemporary Art Bento Box


From above, SANAA’s museum work may resemble a giant plate with lots of side-dish saucers. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the architectural group relies on the concept of architecture that is open to the city when they conceived their circular project. The bento box follows the same trail and creates a big round plate with several small saucers and boxes


‘A round bento box is a bento box that can be rotated to see a different view of the same bento box. One turn, and the side dish that was right in front of you a moment ago will become distant, and a new dish is in front. The entrance changes, each time you turn this bento box,’ says the group.


In fact, the SANAA bento box imagines box-shaped containers in different shapes and sizes to playfully mix and match meals. Creativity comes to play as diners stylize their food by filling the empty boxes, alike Tadao Ando and Sou Fijimoto bento boxes, with ingredients and meals that will fit the containers. The result might come out as a colorful selection of appetizing courses in fun bites.


bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
tokyo apartments, 2006 | image © designboom

bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art by SANAA

bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
kanazawa museum of contemporary art of the XXI century, ishikawa, japan (1999-2004) by SANAA | image © SANAA


SANAA’s bento box

bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
row house’s bento box has two levels

bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
tokyo aparments’ bento box can be stacked and detached

bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
row house bento box

bento boxes tadao ando sou fujimoto sanaa
tokyo apartments bento box



Bento Architecture plans design bento boxes from famous japanese architecture


project info:


name: Bento Boxes

design: Bento Architecture

architects: Tadao Ando, Sou Fujimoto, SANAA

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