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The Transparent Office

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP architects create an office space with bulbous glass enclosures that aid communication. Joanna Kawecki writes.

Start Today

BY Janice Seow

October 25th, 2016

Tokyo-based architecture firm Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP have created a new office space for Japanese company Start Today in Tokyo’s Aoyama district.

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

To maintain openness and an overall visual transparency, the central large conference rooms were designed as transparent glass membranes.

These solid curved glass enclosures were manufactured using three-dimensional heat-shaping technology, by the same artisans who produce windshields for Shinkansen high-speed train cockpits. Natural greenery fills the office, offering privacy.


The Start Today office spans the entire 5th floor of the building, with its new, nature-filled design serving as a direct reflection the company’s diverse business operations.

Interior construction elements were left intentionally exposed. “The aim was to promote a mood of creativity with spaces that appear as if still under construction,” explains Hiroshi Nakamura, founder of Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP.

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

The main conference room features a custom table that spans 4 metres in diameter. A slight 8mm gradient supports a naturally curved seating position, encouraging conversation and discussion amongst staff.

Start Today helms one of Japan’s largest retail entities, Zozotown, and acts as an umbrella for their four integrated businesses in e-commerce, web design, and digital applications.

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

Communication and connection were key drivers in the design of the new office. “The four companies’ personnel, while sharing a kitchen, café tables, and small conference rooms, can cross over the hedge to talk, a feature that generates an overall sense of integration,” says Nakamura.

Due to the evolving nature of the client’s business, the architecture firm’s main focus was to design an environment that could easily be adapted to changing needs.

Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP