Nebuta House by Molo

Vancouver-based studio molo design has designed the ‘Aomori Nebuta House Museum’, a centre for the local Nebuta festival located on the waterfront of Aomori, Japan.

The building was designed to house the huge paper lanterns that parade the city streets of Aomori – for five days each summer – during the festival of Nebuta Matsuri.

The Nebuta lanterns are used to tell stories about mythical heroes and demons during the festival, before five are chosen for a year-long exhibition in the museum’s central hall.

Inspired by the movement of paper lanterns that caught in the breeze, molo design has won the project by competition in 2002.

The building creates a contrast with the local structures with its color and design. Hand-made and adjusted on-site, paper thin metal elements bend and twist to create entries and openings, appearing to be blown by the wind.

The ribbon screen façade creates a sheltered outdoor perimeter space called the “Engawa”, a spatial concept originating in traditional Japanese houses. In this case, a dwelling for giant paper heroes, demons and creatures, the engawa acts as a threshold between the contemporary world of the city and the world of history and myth.

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