Tokyo-based design studio Hiroki Tominaga Atelier was given the task of renovating a 538 square-foot office space for a video production company at a low cost. As renters, the production company needed an inexpensive renovation that would transform the ground floor of their building into a meeting room, but could also double-up as a venue they could let for events on the weekend (to ease high rental prices).

A rule of Japanese real estate is we always have to clear up when we stop renting, so it means interiors always have negative value. Many people want to make renovation more easily and with low costs, but we only have very durable materials which are made for sustainable housing. In such situations, we needed to consider how to avoid using cheap and fake materials.

Inspired by delivery of water on wooden pallets to nearby businesses, the designers recognized that wood pallets would be a durable, sustainable, and cost-effective material for their renovation. Using wooden pallets also reduced construction costs of the project, since there was no need to hire a professional carpenter. 

Photography: Masao Nishikawa © Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
Photography: Masao Nishikawa © Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
Photography: Masao Nishikawa © Hiroki Tominaga Atelier

Appropriately dubbed "Shitomito Pallet," the renovation used a total of 130 pallets to complete the project. Ranging in price and size, the pallets were broken down to create flooring, furnishings, a tiered ceiling, interior walls, and the exterior facade of the ground floor. 

Most significantly, once the lease on the property is up, the production company will be able reassemble the pallets in order to reuse them in a new location (thus reducing potential negative costs), or even aid with their move. 

Photography: Masao Nishikawa © Hiroki Tominaga Atelier


  • Total floor area: 56.41 m2
  • Design time: September 30 - mid-November 2014
  • Construction period: Early February - Early March 2015
  • Construction company: Ryoko over Home Co., Ltd.
  • Total construction cost: Approximately $4.5 million
Outside facade pallet
Photography: Masao Nishikawa © Hiroki Tominaga Atelier
High rental prices force the production company to let the area for various uses during weekends so a slatted hatch, also made from pallets, was used to cover a strip window facing the street. The long shutter can be propped open like a shop awning during business hours and for semi-public events, or closed for private occasions.

Read more about the project on Dezeen >>