To get to this intriguing building, it takes around 10 to 15 minutes by bus or taxi from JR Musashi-Sakai Station. Located by a road with relatively high traffic, there is a surreal feeling to the existence of such an eccentric building. As you approach, you’ll see the building is made up of giant spheres and cubes, like some child’s building block creation! The Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA - In Memory of Helen Keller - is an apartment building, an odd mixture of colorful rooms painted in vivid colors of yellow, orange, green and blue. There are 3 buildings with 9 rooms in total, where people actually live. Vacant rooms are used for open house events held once or twice a month.
Everything is colorful from the elevator, corridors, to the balcony! It’s not a building you see every day. The Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA was created in 2005 by Shusaku Arakawa, an artist and architect, along with his partner Madeline Gins. With the idea of "reversal of destiny" or the reversal of one's life, Shusaku Arakawa has chosen "undying" as his lifetime theme. Between his three “experience-based” artworks in Japan, this is the only one that allows people to live in it.
The complex has 2 types of rooms: 60-square meter 3LDK rooms and 52-square meter 2LDK rooms. We were able to get a 2LDK room open for us this time. It has the perfect amount of space for two people living together. Going inside the room, your eyes will be confused as to where to look at since everything from the walls, floor, and ceiling, is all eye-catching!
First of all, the entire room is round! Inside the round room, there 3 smaller rooms which are spherical, semicircular, and cubical in shapes. Inside the small semicircular room, aside from a washstand and bathroom, you can also find an open toilet with no door.
In addition, if you look down at your feet, you will notice that the floors are uneven. This is not just your imagination as the unevenness is a result of the floor being made out of mortar and other natural materials. Some parts of the floor may feel slanted, so it can be hard to walk and maintain your balance. Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins wanted to aim for the person in the building to feel the act of walking by letting your body feel a slight strain as your soles sense the unevenness of the floor. There are two unevenness levels, big and small, one suited towards adults and the other toward children.
The kitchen is in the middle of the round room. The kitchen and its counter are round so you can look around the entire room while cooking, and it’s even possible to transform the counter into a dining table.
On the downside, the building's rooms do not have closets. You would have a hard time placing furniture inside the room also because of the floor's unevenness, so you may wonder where you keep your belongings. The answer to that is the several hooks on the ceiling which you can hang your clothes or bags. Since these hooks can withstand 100 kilograms of weight, it might be a nice to relax by hanging a hammock instead of putting a sofa on the floor.
After viewing all the rooms on the third floor, we moved to a room on the first floor. We were introduced to the Tokyo Office of Arakawa Shusaku + Madeline Gin, which manages the building. The inside of the office was packed with things giving off the feeling of daily life.
And out of nowhere, a swing! As unstable as it is, it can work as a desk too, kind of. This room can potentially become anything, it’s all up to your imagination! Even when passing by this building, you can’t stop glancing at this fantastically bizarre building.
Mitaka Temmei Hanten Juutaku
We recommend stopping by the nearby local bakery, Osawa Bakery, on your way home. They sell the official bread of the Reversible Destiny Loft MITAKA, which is called “Tenmei Hanten (destiny-reversing) Bread.”
The square and circular parts look like the rooms of the Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA. The bread has a simple and gentle taste, so try eating it while reflecting on your visit. Apparently, the Tenmei Hanten Bread is baked usually once a week during weekends, but that timing is not fixed.
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.