Garden Variety

Ace Hotel taps Kengo Kuma to design its first Japanese outpost

Architecture International
Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto (Courtesy Kengo Kuma and Associates and Ace Hotel)
Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto (Courtesy Kengo Kuma and Associates and Ace Hotel)

Ace Hotels, the boutique chain known for its eight design-forward locations across the United States and the United Kingdom, is expanding its global reach with a Kyoto location designed with architect Kengo Kuma. The hotel is intended to become a new cultural hub in the city and connect with Kyoto’s environment as part of a general push towards urban redevelopment.

Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto (Courtesy Kengo Kuma and Associates and Ace Hotel)

Ace Kyoto will be taking over Tetsuro Yoshida’s 1920 Kyoto Central Telephone Office building, and the Kuma redesign will nod to both the area’s industrial and imperial legacies. The building hotel will be centered around various gardens, some of which date to the Heian period (794 to 1185). This, for Kuma connects “communities, as well as the past and the present…to this venerable land.”

Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto (Courtesy Kengo Kuma and Associates and Ace Hotel)

Wooden grids will be added to the existing red brick structure, along with louvers and meshes that manage light and wind. In a unique warm hue derived from combining concrete with iron oxide, they will also provide a unique aesthetic accent. Various artists and craftspeople will be invited in to work with the hotel and, as Kuma puts it, “every detail and material was thought through to connect the building, land, and history together.”

Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto (Courtesy Kengo Kuma and Associates and Ace Hotel)

Ace Hotels is also no stranger to high design for their buildings, having worked with firms such as GREC Architects and Commune Design. They’ve also partnered with a number of art organizations and have an artist in residence program currently running in New York.

Rendering of Ace Hotel Kyoto (Courtesy Kengo Kuma and Associates and Ace Hotel)

The Kyoto hotel follows many Japan-focused projects from Ace including collaborations with artists, designers, and brands such as BEAMS, Porter, Isetan, Takahiro Miyashita of Number (N)ine, Kenzo Minami, and others. They’ve even developed a bike (for sale at bike stores in select cities) with tokyobike.

The hotel is being built in partnership with NTT Urban Development Corporation. 

Kuma has also worked on a number of hotels in Europe and Asia, including the ongoing 10,000-square-meter hotel in Yunnan, China.

Ace Hotel Kyoto is slated to open in Winter 2019.

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