The battles of design wars are often won not with aesthetics and materials, but emotions. Good design feels comfortable and hopefully makes us smile, just as the new house “Life in Spiral” does.

This house was designed by Tokyo based practice Hideaki Takayanagi. In usual Japanese style, the simplicity of the finishes is only exceeded by that of the lines. All focus is placed on the main concept behind this house, how “Life in Spiral” opens and closes itself to the city outside. When viewed from the street, the house is a glass box floating on a concrete pedestal. The interior would be completely open to the street if it weren’t for the staircase spiraling through the four-storey volume. The two glazed sides of the house fill the space with light and allow for interaction with the city outside. The staircase opens up along the glass façade to create rooms. As the staircase snakes its way through the levels, it widens and narrows, forming seating areas that look out to the city. The staircase is composed of multiple flights making the stairs easier to climb. An angled partition wall runs along with the staircase, separating the rooms and providing privacy where needed. Even the vertical blinds, usually reserved for only the most depressing of office blocks, look elegant and a little coquettish in the way they don’t completely mask the interior.

Instead of trying to block out the frenetic city behind walls and shutters, “Life in Spiral” embraces it on its own terms, making not only a happy house filled with light but happy dwellers too.