What’s going on here then? Has a batch of exploding spaghetti been left on the hob for too long? Have the aliens landed? Or maybe this is the aftermath of a military experiment at one of those eerie mock towns the Americans build out in the desert? Those were just a few of my initial thoughts on seeing this interior by the innovative architect Kengo Kuma, but mainly my mind kept coming back to the unstoppable tangle of cables that is hiding behind the television in my sitting room – the one I’ve neglected to sort out for too long and that is now home to things I don’t want to think about.
The reason for that unconscious association turns out to be simple: Kuma’s work at Tetchan, a yakitori (skewered chicken) joint out in warren-like 1940s underground flea market Harmonica Yokocho — Kichijori, suburban Tokyo — employs recycled networking cables and other assorted electrical wires in its colourful and extraordinary fibrous dining room. Kuma’s intention is that the huge volume of wires and melted plastic is such that they take on a softer “wooly” or “shaggy” quality. Next door things are more chilled out, with a counter and tables made from ice-effect blocks. While the fittings are cool, the mural work here gets a bit hot under the collar with some very cheeky cartoonish misbehaviour from the imagination of Teruhiko Yumura played out in a bold red and white scheme.