益田 文和


Message from the President

We are living and working in a modern society where security and convenience are guaranteed. We feel uneasy only to think about losing lifelines and infrastructures we are now depending on. This anxiety make people conservative and to think negative in changing not only their own way of life, but also the system of the society.

Since modern design itself is originally designed to expand the security and convenience in people’s everyday life, designers tend to take a cautious attitude in changing its role.

But, what if maintaining the lifeline and infrastructure cause enormous problems for us and for our future?

We have to think about changing the basic social systems and start designing alternative way of life. But, to realize a possibility of this radical change, there must be a model to prove how it works.

So, we “open house” decided to take a chance to change our self. That is the reason to move our office from mid-town Tokyo where we based for a quarter century to Kusunoki forest in Yamaguchi Prefecture located a thousand kilometers west.

We are off grid here. We are not tied to any kind of tubes or wires; no water or gas pipe, no electric or telephone wire. The minimum electricity we need are generated on-sight. We use well water, high-performance wood stove and advanced bio-toilet system. Since we have difficulties in catching radio waves, we meet people face to face rather than communicating through mobile phones or internet. Mail service is available.

Although we are in this remote countryside, we have direct connections to the rest of the world. We keep coming and going especially with Asian neighbors. Japan itself is in the corner, in any way.

We are surrounded with rich nature instead of artificial infrastructure or lifeline. This is the real foundation for life.

We cultivate not only lands but also local culture. This is a proving ground of sustainable design.


Fumikazu Masuda


open house inc.