Rich Dark Space: Plywood as More than Mere Wood Veneer


It might be a bit drastic, but think of this home as being white vanilla ice cream with the controlled chaos of chocolate poured on top. If you had any doubts as to the power of plywood and its architectural potential, this series of dynamic interior spaces should quell them.

The Japanese firm Geneto has a love for MDF, OSB and other works of hybrid wood that they have applied to the installation of everything from store shelving display systems to private high-end residential spaces like this one. Sharp lines divide sections of bright, matte-white surface and bold, near-black built-ins made of glossy-finished plywood.

In some ways, they have taken lessons from commercial architecture and applied them here, including a focus on active spatial sequences and story-telling interior designs.

Hard as teak, rich as cherry and dark as aged mahogany, the tongue-and-groove flooring matches the prefinished paneling of built-in plywood desks, benches, cabinets and shelves that rise up to create rooms-within-rooms of various sizes within larger white spaces.

The reflective stain produces an gloss effect that speaks to a love of luxury hardwood lumber – or at least marine-grade plywood board panels – but done for a fraction of the cost since the dark color can cover variations in tone and overall visual quality.

At the main-floor entry there is a dash of light wood decking, and on the top floor the dark-wood flooring gives way to a concrete exterior surface.

Still, there is something almost ominous and overwhelming about the intensity of these interior spaces: perhaps some lighter wood accents, pine or bamboo for instance, would work well when they get around to actually adding some free-standing furniture into the mix.

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