MD. net Clinic Akasaka by Nendo


Japanese designers Nendo have completed the interior of a mental health clinic in Akasaka, Tokyo, where none of the doors open and patients and staff instead move around the building by opening sections of the walls. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

Called Clinic Akasaka, the project includes sliding bookcases behind which the consultation rooms can be found and a single opening door at the end of the corridor that reveals a window to the outside.

See all our stories about Nendo in our special category.

Here are some more details from Nendo:


Nendo’s new interior design project in Tokyo
“ Clinic AKASAKA”, a new mental health clinic

The interior design for a mental health clinic in Akasaka, Tokyo. The clinic specializes in total mental health care: in addition to standard consultations with a psychiatrist, it offers such services as corporate consulting and support for patients returning to the workplace.

Rather than getting patients back to a 'zero', a neutral starting place, the traditional model for mental health care, the clinic aims to provide patients with something extra: a further richness in their daily lives that they did not have before starting treatment. The interior design is an attempt to express this philosophy in space.

The 'doors' that line the walls of the clinic do not open, and 'ordinary' parts of the walls open up into new spaces. The consultation rooms are entered by sliding the bookshelves sideways. The door at the end of the hallway opens onto a window; the amount of light in the hallway is controlled by opening and closing the door.

By providing alternate perspectives for viewing the world, and avoiding being trapped by pre-existing perceptions, the interior allows visitors--and staff members--to experience opening new doors in their hearts, one after the other.

Dezeen Book of Ideas out now!

Nendo is included in our book, Dezeen Book of Ideas. Buy it now for just £12.

Posted on Saturday February 13th 2010 at 12:09 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Capstick

    I like the idea, but at the end of the visit to this center of mental health, I would finish more crazy person than ever.

  • mikaël

    seeing this only aggravated my mental problems

  • kaptnk

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think a Mental health clinic ought to be the most normal/secure feeling place you can imagine. Soft furnishings, and friendly things. Dark patterns and doors which aren't doors but are walls seem rather couter=productive surely?

    • james

      A good way to tackle someone who's nuts is to be even more nuts than than he is!
      Using this principle works here and I think there is no need to stay in the cliches.

      Might as well have fun ey?


      • Anna

        Having a mental health problem doesn’t mean you’re “nuts”!

    • Dan

      I agree… All this is good in theory and the “alternate perspectives, avoiding pre-existing perceptions” part is a bit of a good explanation. But not that much. When you’re called to design a mental hospital, you put the patients first, you ought to try to understand their psychology and way of thinking.

      And THIS, is not at all understanding or sympathetic. This would confuse them even more, for sure.

  • yapada

    haha.. this one is nice specialy for an mental health cliniq!!!

    what a great cliniq that must be where they seam to have a

    possitive vision for the mentaly unhealthy. It seams like an second

    layer to the world .. one only for the patient which has a problem

    well when i get mentaly il i will go to Akasaka, Tokyo then..

  • 新年快乐。happy chinese new year

  • bob

    While not decorated to a particular taste that would adorn any space within my dwelling, I think its fantastic for the mentally off balance. It’s like a dream, sort of “Alice in Wonderland meets Psycho”. I wonder if the Deer’s head is a subtle metaphor for the building overall functionality?

  • Dennis

    If you were mentally healthy when you entered, you wouldn’t be when you left! (This place gives me the heebie-jeebies!)

  • klejdi eski

    Is this to get mentally better ? or maybe to go further in madness ?
    It’s really beautiful ! I’d like to go insane with it !

  • functions

    "Our design is fundamentally aimed to drastically increase paranoia in mental health patients. Let's put them in the walls."

  • J

    An interesting concept. Mental health-care has a stigma associated with it that people typically wish to keep secret.

    This manifestation of that desire for secrecy may be going a bit too far though…

  • This project, like all by Nendo, blows me away completely!
    Great concept. Great outcome.
    I love this line – “By providing alternate perspectives for viewing the world, and avoiding being trapped by pre-existing perceptions, the interior allows visitors–and staff members–to experience opening new doors in their hearts, one after the other.”
    We all have a lot to learn with this design and architectural practice. A lot!

  • *sigh* It’s a beautiful design. IMO it’s a terrible design for a mental health facility.

  • rococco…

    Credit should be given to the predecessor of this idea tree years ago by another Japanese…Ryuji Nakamura…

  • Kristen

    I like how the door and wall are being playful. But the colours are dark. Not suitable to be a mental clinic.

  • laila

    The flooring makes me crazy and feels dizzy !!!

    It is a great concept for people who are very clever then you would say

    “By providing alternate perspectives for viewing the world, and avoiding being trapped by pre-existing perceptions, the interior allows visitors–and staff members–to experience opening new doors in their hearts, one after the other.”

    But people with mental problems!!! they will go further in madness !!!!

  • Christine

    I guess there would be relief and amazment when a visitor saw the true opennings, but I hope it does not look as creepy as in the pictures.

  • bebo

    what the hell?

  • Doug

    We have a lot to learn about self promotion from Nendo but very little about serving clients. You can tell they have no experience with the seriously ill from the glib nonsense in their brief.

    “By providing alternate perspectives for viewing the world, and avoiding being trapped by pre-existing perceptions, the interior allows visitors–and staff members–to experience opening new doors in their hearts, one after the other.”

    Isn't everyone tired of self-justifying verbage?

  • Mentally ill and 'normal' people would be in the same situation when encountering the doors, thus equalizing their status and reducing stigma.

  • claudem

    did anyone see the rabbit with the watch?

  • graeme

    very cool design for a boutique hotel – but i’m not sure how a stay at the motel from Psycho is really going to ease your mental suffering!

  • bernard

    This is what happens when you give trendy designers real world problems.

  • radiator5000

    That’s just mean… hilarious in a ‘I want that in my house’ kind of way… but mean none the less!

  • No wonder why people here needs mental health care. It’s like almost making fun of that poor people trying to solve their condition.
    ¿Does someone knows the bases for this design?

  • My partner is a psychiatrist. I’m sure he’d have a field day in the comment box.

  • Jane

    I think the philosophy is sound.

    People with mental health issues do not necessarily find the predictable, everyday, “normal” world a safe and welcoming place. An environment where the rules are reset and redefined might actually be a hopeful concept for someone who doesn’t fit within society’s idea of typical to begin with.

    Sure, a mentally and emotionally stable person might think this place would “drive someone crazy.” But a person with mental health issues might not find the same things to be “maddening” as a mentally healthy person.

  • Rob

    Lots of Mental Health Professionals popping up in the comments section. I think it’s a great design and takes the sterility of a hospital atmosphere away.

  • I suppose it depends on what the expectations of the patients are and their condition. We are doing some work trying to redesign the patient experience of people with long term mental health problems, and the main lesson we’ve learnt is that we shouldn’t generalise about mental illness. The apparently “sane” hold down top jobs but are really bi-polar, and the acutely anxious may well have a playful side to them which could benefit from a space like this. As long as patients are made aware that this isn’t a ‘real’ space, but something to explore and interact with, I’m sure it’s perfectly fine. Still, the artistic statements do feel a bit like an indulgence.

  • neuhaus

    I like the aesthetic, but I also agree it is a cruel concept for mental patients.

  • I think we’ll have to wait and see what the patients think of it.

  • Badger3k

    It looks interesting, but it’s a shame that the only pictures pointed towards the exact same scenes. Is the whole clinic one hallway?

  • Heather

    My guess is that most mental health problems in Japan – at least among the classes of people who can afford to go to an upscale place like this – stem from routine, the pressures of fitting into an artificially homogeneous business culture, and a lack of mental stimulation. Probably they’re coming here because they’re depressed or stressed out. In this case, I think a novel building design like this would be mentally stimulating, giving them something else to think about besides their stressful lives.

  • Martini-Please

    Yikes! This is a bit much for a mental hospital.

    I wonder how the patients are going to feel when they see it? I suspect they will feel very confused.

  • Miles

    Everything is not as it appears. Do we all agree patients? We all understand that there are many hidden ways to discover what’s inside. What we see on the outside in no way reflects what we can trust. We have to work with people to get them to open up. We must be patient and learn inroads as they are presented to us. Every avenue is different, and we can accept different, if we truly want to get inside ourselves. Again, we are not as we appear and that is acceptable.

  • I can just about imagine the architects sitting down and coming up with the idea: “We’ll just build a place they can finally feel sane!”
    So wrong on so many levels, it might just be..right..??

  • Fizz

    It’s enough to drive you mad…

    The architects have taken over the asylum…

    Should Nendo’s personnel actually be committed to a place like this…?

    The ultimate crazy house for crazy people…

    I say, are those the Doors of Oblivion…?

    [ad nauseum]

  • Chris

    poor patients … but who knows, they might actually feel comfortable.

  • It takes one to know one!


    The architect has not considered the user of this space. Mental health clinics should be a calming space allowing the patient to feel at ease and safe. This inappropriate design feeds into the stereotyping and narrow mindedness that is associated with mental health. By confusing a mentally ill patient with false doors is cruel.

  • T-Jay

    I suffer from depression, the last thing I need on bad days is working out what is a wall and what is a door!

    I’d rather take my chances in ‘The Villiage’ in the TV series ‘The Prisoner’!!

    The idea of a mental health clinic is for calm and relaxation, when looking for a door that is inpersonating a wall is definatly NOT calming OR indeed relaxing!!

    My medication would need to be upped before even thinking of entering this building!

  • Your partner is a psychiatrist. I’m sure he’d have a field day in the comment box.

  • ana

    this is just wrong..:)

  • Guest

    Can anyone say "fire hazard"? I think we can.