Office Empath by tamotsu ito architecture office

A simple, reflective common space in a typical plan

Project Specs


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这间办公室内部空间是专门为从事声音识别+情感分析人工智能技术的全球初创企业 Empath设计的。设计师将位于7层的这个两端带有窗户、进深很大的租赁场地简单地划分为两个相互对比的区域:一个对所有人开放的自由/公共空间和一个确保安全性的内部软件开发工作空间。会议室位于两者之间,可以根据情况划归给不同的空间使用。“开放空间”不仅作为员工的工作空间,还可用于各种活动,如会议、休息、公共活动和讲座。

An office interior designed for a global start-up firm Empath, who deals with AI technology of voice recognition + emotion analysis. Simply dividing a deep tenant space (at 7th floor with windows at both edges) into two, we created contrasting spaces; a free-address/common space open to everyone, and a secured working space for in-house software development. The meeting rooms are situated in between so that they can belong to both spaces upon situation. ‘Open space’ works not only as a staffs’ working space, but also for various activities such as meetings, breaks, public events, and lectures.

▼办公室开放区域概览,view of the open space in the office

▼夹在开放空间与封闭软件工作空间之间的会议室,the meeting rooms are situated between common space and a secured working space for in-house software development


AI, on one hand, aims for optimization by deep learning. And human emotions, on the other hand, escape (or want to escape) from optimization as much as possible. For the team who connects such two contradictory subjects, in order to contemplate and to deepen discussions, ‘open space’ would better be a space where its meaning would not become too determined – sometimes bringing in external world and others, a space whose perception would transform. And, in order to express the identity of a firm who deals with form-less ‘emotions,’ it would be desirable to realize it in a single room space as simple as possible, not by additive/multi-room spaces.

▼空间一角的小会议区域,small meeting space at the corner

▼通向内部封闭工作区的入口,entrance towards the interior working space


Open space is designed as a bare textured space, with repetitive frameless doors, with the same heights and widths, made of contrasting textures. These differently textured doors reflect natural lights and humans’/objects’ behaviors in respective ways. Human movements across rooms, opening and closing mirrored doors, changes what one perceives as a space. By abstracting and repeating doors, a basic and fundamental element of architecture, which becomes the protagonist of the space, the behavior of people/environment is maximally perceived.

▼纹理不同的门以各自的方式反射着自然光线和人类/物体的活动,differently textured doors reflect natural lights and humans’/objects’ behaviors in respective ways.

▼重复的无框门保持统一高度和宽度,采用相互对比的纹理,repetitive frameless doors with the same heights and widths are made of contrasting textures



It is also a small attempt to reimagine a common space in the middle of artificial metropolis, in the middle of a typical floor which tends to be enclosed/self-sufficient – by inserting a space open to dynamisms of human, a city, and an environment.



Location: Shibuya, Tokyo
Client: Empath Inc. (
Produce: mui Lab (
Design: tamotsu ito architecture office (
Construction: keykilt
Built year: 2018
Total floor area: 164 m²
All Photo Credit: Masaharu Okuda

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