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Architecture + Home Décor

The Danish-Japanese Connection: Architect Jens Martin Suzuki-Højrup

By Susan Rogers Chikuba

When we asked Tokyo-based architect Jens Martin Suzuki-Højrup about his favorite Danish haunts in Japan, he replied that his real preference is for seeking out his next favorite sushi bar, ramen shop or izakaya pub. The Aarhus native first visited Japan in 2009, for a nine-day trip. “It was,” he says, “the biggest shock of my life. I felt at home in a way that made little sense.”

Suzuki-Højrup founded Hokuou Architecture and Design in 2013. His goal? Applying northern European design concepts to projects in Japan. For his first major work, the building renovation and interior design of Tokyo’s new Scandinavian Center, he created flexible, sun-filled spaces for informal gatherings. To the kindergarten on the premises, which was created on a Finnish model, he introduced sustainably sourced materials and design themes inspired by nature.

In addition to heading up Hokuou, Suzuki-Højrup is a member of PAP-Design, a Japanese-Danish-Finnish unit that provides sustainable cardboard solutions ranging from furniture to art displays and shop interiors. “We are all of us preparing for a future that no one knows. With design especially, it’s a constant juggle of challenging conventional views, evaluating different perspectives, and yet remaining honest to what you know to be true. And that rings true no matter where you call home.”

To learn more about projects from Hokuou Architecture, visit: hokuou-architecture.com

Jens Martin Suzuki-Højrup/Scandinavian Center photographed by Jaakko Saari.