hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fu

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fu

‘hotel the mitsui kyoto’ celebrates local heritage as a contemporary interpretation of the japanese city’s rich cultural history. the newly-opened property has been developed by an award-winning team of specialists led by andré fu, whose aim was to incorporate an authentic spirit of kyoto into the project’s design. located adjacent to nijō-jo castle, the 161-room hotel combines contemporary aesthetics with a number of relics that attest to its site’s centuries-old history, including a 300-year-old kajiimiya gate that welcomes guests upon arrival.the 300-year-old gate at hotel the mitsui kyoto by andré futhe kajiimiya gate

all images courtesy of hotel the mitsui kyoto and andré fu studio

 

 

directly facing nijō-jo castle in the city center, hotel the mitsui kyoto occupies the site of the original residence of the kitake, the executive branch of the mitsui family – a home the family maintained for over 250 years. with a deep understanding of the traditions of the former construction, andré fu studio worked closely with local craftspeople and artists to breathe new life into the heritage and legacy of the site.

 

‘from a personal note, I’ve always been fascinated with kyoto as a city. it is a town that has stood still in time, a location that has a lot of authentic moments to embrace. I hope my design will convey the heritage of kyoto as a city. I would like guests to experience the same sense of serenity and tranquillity that I feel when I am here,’ says fu, who developed the hotel’s guest rooms and public spaces guided by three keywords: authentic, mystical and artisanal.the garden at hotel the mitsui kyoto by andré futhe garden

 

 

guests of the hotel are welcomed by a 300-year-old kajiimiya gate from the original mitsui residence, which has been restored in collaboration with kyoto artisans and relocated to serve as the main entrance. from there, a pathway leads into a lush bamboo forest and through to the lobby, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the hotel’s traditional courtyard garden with a beautiful cherry tree. a wall of angular timber slats in the lobby is created as an abstract tribute to the nearby bamboo forest, and a modern interpretation of traditional japanese architecture’s use of a ‘kekkai’ – a bamboo hedge – intended to create a spiritual yet functional barrier. moreover, a cinematic tunnel passageway besides the garden is reminiscent of the rows of torii gates at the fushimi inari-taisha shrine tunnel, celebrating local heritage in a contemporary way.the tea house at hotel the mitsui kyoto by andré futhe tea house

 

 

in order to enhance the intimacy of the lobby area, andré fu clad its walls in sycamore and suspended an enormous shoji lantern from the ceiling. in addition, he collaborated with japanese artist yukiya izumita to create pieces that add a rustic quality, such as the centerpiece; a large ceramic sculpture evoking antiquity and modernity, fragility and strength, and vulnerability and resilience. adjacent to the lobby, the double-height lounge features a sleek open fireplace carved out of a monolithic block of stone that emphasises its role as a gathering place. above this area, an installation reminiscent of flowing kimono fabric hand-painted with a pattern hangs from the ceiling, reflecting the water element of the garden outside.the lantern arrival at hotel the mitsui kyoto by andré futhe lantern arrival

 

 

hotel the mitsui kyoto’s 161 guest rooms embody the juxtaposition of traditional and modern through crafted interlocking joinery and understated custom furniture. solid natural cut walnut, tatami and kimono fabrics with a contemporary twist clad the interiors, while washi lampshades handmade by local artisans infuse the rooms with a warm glow. the woven textiles that cover the wall panels are created by kimono designer jotaro saito, who comes from a family of kyoto kimono dye artists and whose innovative style fuses the classic with the contemporary. the hotel also includes two unique onsen suites lined entirely in local cherry wood and complete with an outdoor hot-spring experience.

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fu

the tea house

 

for the hotel’s exterior spaces, fu worked with kyoto landscape master shunsaku miyagi, who developed the courtyard garden as a visual focus for the lobby and a theatrical element for the tea lounge. the lounge areas, interior garden spaces and water features blend together, embodying ‘teioku ichinyo’ – the japanese concept of absolute harmony between the building and the garden. carefully placed stone lanterns and decorative rock features complete the hotel’s artisanal landscape.the cinematic passageway of hotel the mitsui kyoto by andré futhe tunnelhotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré futhe living roomhotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fuonsen suite

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fu

nijo suite

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fuguest room

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fupresidential suite

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fuguest room bathroom

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fupresidential suite

hotel the mitsui kyoto: a contemporary interpretation of local cultural heritage by andré fupresidential suite

 

 

project info:

 

name: hotel the mitsui kyoto

architect: andré fu studio

location: 284 nijoaburanokoji-cho, aburano-koji st. nijo-sagaru, nakagyo-ku, kyoto 604-0051, japan

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