Nomena I is a minimal space located in Tokyo, Japan, designed by Domino Architects. The studio designed an office for nomena, a group of engineers who design, produce, and install works for various artists and designers. In this first phase of the project, a studio and gallery were planned. As the group works on a variety of scales, from very small mechanisms to huge installations, the space needed to be flexible enough to be reconfigured on a project-by-project basis. Therefore, they proposed to use aluminum frames horizontally running at equal heights on the walls of the studio, like the ruled lines of a notebook. The ruled aluminum frames can be made into shelves and desks by adding components later as needed, and can be combined with optional parts to attach and hang things. The work tables and wagons are also made of the same material. In the foyer of the gallery, a lump of just piled up aluminum frames was set up as a bench.

As the signature material, Misumi’s lightweight aluminum frame, which is regularly used by nomena to create mechanisms and has a wide variety of optional parts, was chosen as the main material. By using materials that they are familiar with on a daily basis, from ordering to processing, they can remake the space with the same feeling as their daily work. As a professional DIY project, nomena was in charge of almost all of the electrical work, construction work, and furniture installation. In this studio, the only element that was planned from the beginning and didn’t move was the ruled line on the wall. By providing a minimum set-up, they thought of a design that would encourage spontaneous customization, like a priming water.

Photography by Gottingham