In the effort to prove its tiny house game cannot be beat—and, more importantly, to accommodate its incredibly high population on a land mass slightly smaller than California—Japan has come up with seemingly countless ingenious ways to house its citizens. One such way, by no means unique to Japan, is stacking apartments over businesses in a fashion typical of urban mixed-use development. What makes this one special is that it’s not just tiny, it’s teeny, measuring in at just 26 square meters (just shy of 280 square feet).
To brighten the space and make it feel more open, its designers at Tokyo-based studio Flathouse spread the home’s limited square footage over multiple floors, creating a series of mezzanines that serve dual purposes—as in the miniscule eat-in kitchen. Called the Tsubomi House (tsubomi translates to “flower bud” in English), the house is paneled in plywood, which helps add visual interest and create a sense of space without resorting to white paint.