The use of natural wood panels, cladding and ceilings is as old as the history of building construction. Different architectural styles around the world use natural wood panels to embellish their works but the new Japanese architecture is, perhaps, the one that has more firmly maintained that connection with tradition and nature.

Within the current landscape of new Japanese architects there is one that stands out for the amazing use it makes of natural wood panels, cladding and ceilings in his works. We are talking about Kengo Kuma, who has managed to combine contemporary Japanese minimalism of simple and pure designs with traditional architecture represented by the use of materials such as stone or wood.

Here are some of his most spectacular works:


  • Starbucks Cofee Omotesandō

In this project, Kengo Kuma shows a dazzling use of slats and wood slats inside the Starbucks Cofee Shop at the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Omotesandō with a total of 2,000 pieces of cedar from 1.30 to 4.00 meters in length.

Information and photos by Masao Nishikawa from




  • “Under the same roof” – Campus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (Artlab)

The large sloping and elongated 235-metre-long stone roof with Swiss wood panelling on the inside. Under the name “Under the same roof” are located the Arts and Sciences pavilion, a technology and information gallery and the Montreux Jazz Café.

Information and photos by Michel Denance, Valentin Jeck and Joel Tettamanti from



  • Murai Masanari Art Museum

This project developed in Tokyo draws attention to the use of the remains of the old building in the form of planks and wood slats to beautify the façades.

Information and photos from



  • Coffee shop in Osaka

Spectacular interior, in the shape of a cavern, made of laminated wood forming pentagons that are used as shelves at the same time.

Information and photos from


  • Cultural and Tourist Information Centre in Asakusa

Great slats, planks and natural wood panels are the protagonists of the façades and interiors of this cultural centre erected vertically in the Asakusa neighbourhood in Tokyo.

Information and potos by Takeshi Yamagishi from



  • The Darling Exchange

Civic and recreational centre consisting of a cylindrical figure with a six-metre diameter and 30 meters high planned for 2019 next to port Darling (Sydney) and in which, according to the architect’s own words, light coloured wood ribbons surround the curved building in an “organic and spontaneous way”

Information and photos from



If you liked this post about natural wood panels in Kengo Kuma’s work, you may also be interested in:


Walls and wood panelling in the works of Frank Gehry

Wood inner linings in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright

Interiors and wood ceilings in the works of Peter Zumthor

The use of wood in the work of Alejandro Aravena – 2016 Pritzker Prize