K5 Hotel by Claesson Koivisto Rune
Japan and Scandinavia may be continents apart, but their design aesthetics have much in common, from their mutual love of minimalist elegance to their focus on function and reverence for natural, organic forms. A great example of this harmonious fusion is the K5 hotel in Tokyo, designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune, the renowned Swedish architects and designers.
The exterior of the building is as anonymous as its location - a 1920s concrete office block at a busy junction on the edge of Marunouchi. Inside, the architects preserved the raw concrete look but softened the space with bold organic shapes and plenty of greenery. Boundaries between public areas such as the reception, library, bar and restaurant are deliberately blurred, encouraging guests to flow seamlessly from one space to another.
For the best showcase of the Nordic-Japanese fusion style, head upstairs to the 20 guest rooms, where cedar panelled walls resembling traditional shoji screens and elegantly restrained wooden tables and chairs provide the perfect foil for a quietly flamboyant selection of shapely upholstered furniture, all designed by the architects. The pièce de résistance is the central island which houses the bed and desk, encircled by a seductively translucent curtain, partially dyed in indigo, which reaches all the way to the ceiling. Above the bed is a custom-made tear-drop shaped washi paper lamp. When the curtains are drawn this looks like an abstract Mount Fuji, glowing in the last rays of dusk. A fitting spot to contemplate the happy union of two outstanding design traditions.
The raw organic look of the Duck big tray from 101 Copenhagen would look great in this Scandinavian-Japanese space, as would the Toallero towel stand from Nomon. Alternatively add an exotic touch to your walls with the Japanese Garden wallpaper from Mind The Gap.