A perfect blend of orange soft light and natural sun light coming through a paper sliding door (Shoji). I am writing this at the spacious main lobby of Hotel Okura Tokyo.
Here, the light gives a warm feeling. It seems whether it subtly hides the thing which you don’t wish to show, in comparison with recent modern buildings, transparent and light, and full of glass-made material used. I sometime feel intimidated and overly exposed.
Photo by Manuel Oka (http://manueloka.com/sets/architecture/)
Hotel Okura Tokyo, one of Japan’s most iconic hotels will be torn down from September 2015 to renovate its main building with completion by Spring 2019, one year prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It has been long time since I came here last time in daytime and I had an urge to come here to burn every detail of my favorite hotel into my memory.
Here you find Japan’s modern design combined with the traditional colors, patterns, shapes and materials.
Lanterns shaped in an ancient necklace motif （切子玉）
Shoji with glass window behind a sliding bottom half and a mullion with a flax leaf pattern
Flax leaf pattern was introduced in https://takumist.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/edo-kiriko-江戸切子/
A muntin with a haze hanging over the scene (霞棚型）
Hotel Okura Tokyo was built two years ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 by the team of architects led by Yoshiro Taniguchi and an annex was added in 1973. Kishichiro Okura, the founder of Hotel Okura believed that availability of a luxury hotel in the capital city represents a standard of the culture of the country. Hotel Okura Tokyo was built under his desire of creating a modern hotel that embraced Japan’s traditional beauty.
The main building of Hotel Okura Tokyo may be exhorted and need a reconstruction, but the timing of it prior to two Tokyo Olympics for both creation and re-creation, I can’t think of anything but destiny.
Its main building will be reborn as a 38-storey glass tower in 2019. It is said that the new building will maintain the traditional Japanese aesthetic and will be a true “Made in Japan” luxury hotel to preserve its rich history. As Kishichiro Okura had a clear vision how the first Hotel Okura Tokyo should be, new Hotel Okura Tokyo perhaps need a purpose of reconstruction beyond the economic reason.
All of my fingers are crossed and Hotel Okura Tokyo hopefully won’t be buried into many of those glass-walled high rises.
Monocle magazine has started a petition to save the old Hotel Okura Tokyo. You can participate in it from the link below. I hope they will succeed.
More information on Hotel Okura Tokyo: