It’s been several months since I had the opportunity to jump into a build by Lotus Mastroianni and Fred Hamilton (frecoi), so when Shawn Shakespeare pointed me towards Hasunohana, I decided to start the week by hopping over and taking a look.
Occupying a 4096 sq m parcel, this is a setting that is not going to tax your feet (or camera!) when exploring – which is not to say it doesn’t have anything worth seeing. Rather the reverse, in fact, since the build makes good use of the placement of streets and buildings to give the impression of both being large than first appears, and a genuine sense of forming – as the About Land description states – a little suburb siting in a much larger metropolis. And also as the About Land description makes clear, and the setting’s name suggests, it is a setting with a lean towards Japan, something that is again liable to tweak my attention, given my love of the orient.
A visit starts aboard a suburban monorail train as it arrives at the local station – something that adds a degree of depth to the setting, giving the suggestion that we are joining the locals in coming home after a day at work. From here, steps lead down to the first of the setting’s narrow streets, little more than an alleyway boxed on either side by the squat forms of apartment-style (at least in looks) houses mixed here and there with a little shop or store.
While the buildings are all façades, they nevertheless have a sense of homeliness about them: potted plans sit outside of doorways, together with shoe stands and benches, dustpans for cleaning down front steps hang from hooks on the wall, bicycles are parked on stands in alleys between houses – there’s even a thermos and steam mug outside one, suggesting the owner is not far away.
Similarly, the balconies to the upper floors of some of the houses are rich in the floatsam of life: deck chairs for enjoying the Sun are folded against railings, toys clutter floors, clothes are draped over dryers – there’s even a washing machine clearly too big to fit inside a house that has been parked to one side of one of the balconies. Where balconies aren’t available, window railings and the tops of air conditioning units mounted outside of windows are used for various domestic purposes, whilst roofs that can be accessed have been turned into little garden spaces.
Although none of the occupants of the houses are to be found, this doesn’t mean the setting is deserted; curious eyes are to be found everywhere in the form of the local Feline Overlords as they sit on rooftops, balconies, sit in doorways and – in one case – carrying out an inspection of a cart of luggage.
Finding your way around is a matter of keeping an eye out for the steps linking the streets that sit at slightly different heights one to another. Some of these steps are obvious, sitting directly at the end of one street to reach another that crosses it; others might not be so obvious; they might be hidden around a corner or at first appear to be stairways leading up into buildings.
Those who fancy a meal al fresco, one corner of the setting features a little street-side eatery. Tucked into another sits a little garden that offers one of those touches of green that can catch the eye in the most unexpected of places as we explore somewhere new.
Small, richly detailed – if somewhat texture-heavy – Hasunohana is an engaging setting, neatly blended with its high-rise surroundings through the placement of the monorail, roads and mist. Rounded out by a balanced soundscape that fits it perfectly, it makes for a tidy visit whether or not photography is your thing.
- Hasunohana (Infinity Beach, rated Moderate)