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Japan is the birthplace of karoshi – “death from overwork” – a word invented in the 1970s to describe deaths caused by work-related stress and pressure. In Tokyo today, many workers take the last train home every night, leaving little time for rest and recuperation. The cost of unchecked corporate loyalty, punctuality, solidarity and discipline is undue amounts of personal stress, anxiety and depression. The work culture in Tokyo can be exhausting and unhealthy. Added to this is the addiction of digital devices. REST ROOM seeks to alleviate worker stress by introducing a series of meditation spaces directly in the space of Tokyo’s growing corporate culture.


Chris Jarrett, Peter Wong, Jesse Lohman

As the number of glossy towers increase, from Marunouchi and Meguro to Shinagawa and Shibuya, so does the rise of corporate plazas. REST ROOM hovers above a sea of granite pavers, decorative plantings and infrastructural exhaust vents. Located in conjunction with the spaces of work are spaces of rest. REST ROOM serves as both animated public art and quiet private space for meditation. By day, metallic screens painted with playful mushrooms by artist Yayoi Kusama enliven the banal corporate plaza while concealing a warm soft interior made of sustainably grown mushrooms sculpted to support the body at rest. Surfaces emerge to sit, lie and lean. Sounds of the city are silenced. By night, LED lighting reveals the sculpted form inside. As work deadlines loom, room for mindful meditation can improve the mood and well-being of overworked employees, helping them to become happier and healthier while lowering Tokyo’s unspoken rate of karoshi.

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Typical Pavilion Section

REST ROOM is sited in Tokyo’s growing number of corporate plazas. Spaces of rest are conjoined with spaces of work. REST ROOM is a meditation cabin prototype that can be replicated and placed around various corporate plazas in Tokyo.




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Mitsuuji Enjoys a Mushroom Hunt, Edo Period, 17th c.

Mushrooms are a staple of Japanese culture and a favored subject of eccentric Edo period painters and contemporary artists such as Yayoi Kasuma. They are also a sustainably harvested crop with increasing viability as a construction material. Japan’s humid climate supports upward of 5,000 varieties of mushrooms, mostly produced in Nagano Prefecture. Shiitake is the most well-known of Japanese mushrooms. Its root system is known as mycelium, an organic network of fungus fibers. Mycelium grows quickly and easily, stores carbon, has a low environmental footprint, high insulation value, and excellent sound-dampening properties. Mycelium can also be processed and formed into any shape. Mushroom as a material is the antithesis of digitalization. 
In a time when buildings and construction must reconsider their permanent status - like this proposal for temporary architecture - a turn to natural substances like mycelium (fungi-based) materials promises a way for buildings to return to the earth in non-harmful ways. As “myco-materials” take root in building construction, the life-cycles of architecture become more fluid and connected to changing environments. The promise of temporary architecture should therefore not be seen as fossils in time but rather as new forms of life that are equally animated as the people who inhabit them.

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Cabin Screens inspired by Mushrooms - Yayoi Kusama, Artist, 1995


Mycolite panels are made by pouring the composite into a mold.

The Tokyo Toilet Project serves as a symbol of Japan’s well known hospitality culture. In much the same way that toilets are seen as a public health necessity, The Rest Room Project introduces “meditation spaces” throughout the city for improved mental health and well-being.


Formal variations of REST ROOM prototype in response to different sites and plazas.

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