Saturday, August 4, 2012

On Tokonomas

It was day 4 of Pam's (of Mercantile Muse) photography challenge - the topic - dark of night.  My offering for this topic consisted of the below little interior composition.

A while back, when my husband and I were refurbishing our first apartment we had a Japanese employee working with us in our architectural practice.  He was helping us out with some of the work in the apartment and saw the little recess we had created in the side of the wall, under the stairs, and he remarked 'oh, you made a tokonoma'.  To which we replied 'a toko - what?'

The Second Tokonoma, August 2012, Cari-Jane Hakes
Turns out that most Japanese homes have a tokonoma (or toko).  Our friend explained that it would be a place where important treasured items would be placed along with perhaps a seasonal object, plant or flower.  In essence, I suppose it is not dissimilar to a mantlepiece or an alcove.

And so, when be began constructing the interior of our second home, we built another tokonoma.  A perfect little pocket of a space.  I must admit, I love these teeny tiny architectural details in a home - the moments when a large space becomes articulated and scaled down to the size of a hand.

I think next time round I'd like to make the tokonoma a bit bigger, perhaps with areas of differing depths of recess, with perhaps a little bit more materiality, a timber or tiled base.

I wonder, does your home have a tokonoma?



2 comments:

  1. I love the thought of a tokonoma, and I love that you made another one in your newest home. I don't have one in my own home, but I've always liked them. I call them alcoves.

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  2. We have them in our home, usually for art pieces. Recently, I decided to do a mosaic in one of them http://pinkbug67.blogspot.com/2012/06/boy-blue-complete.html I like the name, tokonoma, a special place for special things.

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