Kazuya Katagiri's award-winning Shi-An is a movable mini tea house constructed entirely out of paper using ancient Origami processes. The igloo-like structure is just one of Katagiri's fascinating recent experiments with different techniques and materials.

Shi-An was originally designed as a temporary construction at the Daidokoro in Nijo-Jo Castle, Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The compelling structure went on to win several awards over the past year including a Japan Design Space award and 1st prize at the recent Rethinking The Future Awards.

The tea house is made up of 4000 pieces of Japanese "Washi" paper. Each piece of paper measures 500 mm by 1000 mm (19 in by 39 in) and is folded eight times. A triangular pocket with two arms is formed and each unit can slot into place with one another without the need for any adhesive. The entire structure stands 2.1 meters high (6.8 ft) and inside has a diameter of 1.85 meters (6 ft).

The paper structure would no doubt be incredibly sturdy, although it's probably not safe to come near with a candle. Katagiri and his team write that the tea house "embodies the idea of Japanese simplified beauties, also at the same time, the cellular body of the structure reminds living creatures of warmth and softness as if it is in the womb."

This interestingly tactile structure is one of several experiments with large-scale paper and origami techniques from Katagiri. His ongoing design interest in unconventional materials and geometry have led to the gorgeous 'Tea Ceremony Partition" and a series of wall-like compositions.

Most recently Katagiri created a structure called "Paper Cloud" in Montpellier, France. Eschewing the origami techniques of Shi-An, this piece was built entirely from 2000 laminated paper rings. Again the piece was designed with no adhesive but rather each ring slotted into one another.

Despite his young age, Katagiri is already proving to be a unique new voice on the architecture and design scene. As his projects inevitably scale up in the future we eagerly anticipate what this original designer can bring when playing with larger resources.

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