Takashi Kobayashi, a self-taught designer, carpenter and architect of 120 amazing tree houses in Japan — some are sleek and modern cubes, some are fairy-tale cottages — recently unveiled his first project in Los Angeles. It is a small-scale tree house made of wood and live plants at In Aqua Veritas, the vintage goods shop of the home décor store Feal Mor.
The staff at In Aqua Veritas are very happy with the project. “There’s a whole modern-hippie, tree-hugger vibe,” Shaheen Plunier, store co-owner, said of Kobayashi’s designs. The design line also includes T-shirts and the jumpsuits he wears while working on and building tree houses. “Taka has the pure ability to create something functional, like that famous handicapped-accessible tree house for kids at a medical center, out of nothing.”
Infused heavily with 1970s pop culture and influenced by West Coast architects such as Pete Nelson, the designer creates environments using reclaimed lumber, custom-built doors and windows, and stained glass. Kobayashi was a former producer of nature documentaries for TV. He built his first project in a cedar tree 25 years ago in Tokyo’s Harujuku fashion district. That specific tree house now operates as the Hideaway Café, a shop that serves organic food and has live music. Commissions soon followed that project and he started to hone his craft. This summer, Kobayashi will complete a $300,000 tree house restaurant and lounge at a resort on the Izu peninsula of Japan.
He says he envies children in the U.S. for having tree houses as childhood memories. “In the U.S., there are many kids with tree houses in their backyard. In Japan, there are regulations so you cannot sleep in them overnight.” he said. “I have built 120 tree houses and I don’t have one of my own, so that is my dream – to stay in my tree house and enjoy the quiet moments.”
[ via LA Times ]