Maison Kitsuné’s stunning new Tokyo flagship and exclusive capsule collection, pays affectionate homage to the much-missed icon of Japanese Modernism, Hotel Okura, reports WGSN Correspondent Darren Gore.
This third Japanese opening from the French-Japanese, energetically multidisciplinary duo is their strongest statement yet. It fully embodies the brand aesthetic while simultaneously drawing upon design motifs of the 1960s-built Tokyo hotel that was long hailed as the pinnacle of Japanese Modernist design.
The closure last year of the Okura’s main wing for demolition, in order to present a new face for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, prompted an outcry from design aficionados worldwide.
Kitsuné however have ensured that something of the Okura’s period charm is conjured up by their two-storey, purpose-built location in Tokyo’s upmarket but youthful Daikanyama district, spanning 1,500 square feet and created by the duo of Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki (the latter a trained architect) together with a team of local artisans.
Though adopting the silhouette of a traditional Japanese home rather than the Okura’s angular concrete blocks, the vertical wood-slatted exterior, replete with a stone garden-style forecourt, gives way inside to an airy timber post-and-beam construction that strongly echoes the hotel’s famed lobby.
Custom-designed wooden chandeliers, along with a mix of mid-century modern and traditional furnishings, further convey the signature Okura aesthetic: one that many feared lost to the appetite of Japanese hoteliers and developers for renovation and renewal. Many architecture and design lovers, including those in Japan, remark that this keenness is sometimes a little too strong, to the cost of such similarly iconic locations as Tokyo’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial Hotel, pulled down in 1967.
At the far end of the Kitsuné flagship’s first floor, meanwhile, lies the ‘secret’ of a bamboo garden aiming to provide a small oasis of serenity amid the urban hubbub.
Coinciding with the Daikanyama store’s opening, and fully exclusive to this location, is a small Kitsuné capsule collection (including a unisex jacket, sweatshirt and tote bag) featuring patterns inspired by emblematic elements of the Okura.
In this redevelopment-crazy city where even celebrated locations may have very brief lifespans, Kitsuné Daikanyama is one treasure that we hope to see stick around into old age.
20-14 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo / 81 (0)3 6427 8274
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