The collaborating studios of Karimoku Case Study, Keiji Ashizawa Design and Norm Architects

When, how and why did you decide to start your studio? 

K.A: My studio, Keiji Ashizawa Design, was established in 2005 and is very much based on the knowledge I gained from former studios. 

N.A: Norm Architects was founded in 2008, and for the past 10 years we’ve based our work on a design philosophy that we refer to by name as “Soft Minimalism”; a design philosophy that very much arose from an itch triggered by our lure and love for the minimal, natural and tactile. We believe that we, as architects and designers, are responsible for composing the settings and framework for a good life. 

What was the vision behind the studio then, and how is it different today, if so? 

K.A: Since day one, I’ve hoped people would feel inspired by my work. 

N.A: The vision was always to demonstrate how thoughtful interiors and natural materials can significantly improve people’s quality of life by enhancing our everyday environments. We’ve refined our approach over the years, but our vision remains the same. 

How would you describe your studio’s approach to design & architecture projects? 

K.A: My designs are naturally derived from the communicative elements between material, production process and structure. I also see the importance of communicating with clients, other professionals and the designers in my studio to share and develop the vision of each project. 

N.A: Our approach is very much based on the idea that architecture and design should be guided by the body and mind rather than by trends or technology.



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We believe that we, as architects and designers, are responsible for composing the settings and framework for a good life. 
Norm Architects

The N-CC01 Lounge Chair is designed to have a small footprint, but with great comfort. The rounded back not only adds a warm and welcoming look and feel to the chair, it also allows the user to freely move in it, while the small overhang of the back and armrest, makes the chair itself easy to move around.

The N-CC01 Lounge Chair is one of the tailor-made furniture pieces that make up the third collection of Karimoku Case Study, the Archipelago House collection. Norm Architects designed the house with a focus on using and embracing natural materials, muted colors and clean lines - striving to create a minimal, yet well welcoming and curated interior. All of which has been combined with high quality craftsmanship and beautiful handmade pieces to make up the third collection of Karimoku Case Study.

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What’s the main reason you decided to be part of the Karimoku Case Study collaboration? 

K.A: After more than two years of communication between Karimoku and my studio, I reckoned there was a lot more to be said about the Karimoku brand — its techniques, quality, craftsmanship, and its people. I believe we can emphasise their profile through design based on our experience and approach, and truly make a change on the furniture scene. 

N.A: As a studio that works within the fields of both architecture and design, Karimoku Case Study is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how those two fields interact and correlate with one another. It’s a unique chance to approach a series of projects holistically, and a reminder that natural materials ought to be appreciated and integrated in our everyday environments. 

How does Keiji Ashizawa Design/ Norm Architects resonate with Karimoku Case Study as a brand? What design principles/values do you share? 

K.A: When we create furniture, we always start by looking at the space it will inhabit. I believe this architectural approach adds value in creating a brand where space and furniture are well-connected. 

N.A: True to the philosophy of the American “Case Study Houses program”, an inspiration for the founding of the Karimoku Case Study brand and name, our work takes roots in the idea of creating good conditions for living. We believe in refining rather than reinventing — and this, too, is one of the main ideas behind Karimoku Case Study. 




The collaborating studios of Karimoku Case Study, Keiji Ashizawa Design and Norm Architects


Case Study 01 – Kinuta Terrace – Keiji Ashizawa & Norm Architects

We believe in refining rather than reinventing
Norm Architects

The collaborating design studios of Karimoku Case Study, Keiji Ashizawa Design and Norm Architects

How would you describe the fundamental philosophy behind Karimoku Case Study? 

K.A: We would like to rethink how spaces interact with furniture design, and how the same beautiful, quality furniture pieces can enrich spaces on their own. 

N.A: The starting point for this brand has been the historic collaboration between Japan and Denmark — two countries that share a long and proud tradition within design and architecture. With Karimoku Case Study, even if the brand will be consisted of international de-sign studios, we want to emphasise the fact that beauty and age can go hand in hand by creating furniture that last, and interiors that are rooted in each overlap-ping traditions and cultures, striving to find the right balance, essence and foundation for the given case.

What do you hope to achieve through Karimoku Case Study?

K.A: We hope to provide an experience through space and furniture — for the “good life”. 

N.A: We certainly want to illustrate how big an effect tailor-made furniture have on the overall experience of a space. It’s no revelation that the spaces and items we surround ourselves with influence our well-being, and in a time of rapid urbanisation, we feel there’s a strong need for designing objects that we as humans can experience with more of our senses and feel connected to on a deeper level. There are a million things that can distract us in our day-to-day lives, and finding or creating those sanctuaries is therefore vital for our wellbeing; spaces and places that provide the setting for relaxation, awareness and connectedness. Real, honest and quality materials touch us on a deeper level, and thoughtful design last a lifetime. That’s our goal with this brand and collaboration; to reconnect with nature through materials, and to create designs that last. 

Case Study 03 – Archipelago House – Norm Architects

We hope to provide an experience through space and furniture — for the “good life”. 
Keiji Ashizawa

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