Ace Hotel Kyoto
Ace Kyoto is the product of a design marriage between East and West through a shared love of organic materials and deep appreciation of the hand crafted. Inspiration comes from the work of Japanese American artists like Isamu Noguchi, Ruth Asawa and George Nakashima, as well as the history of collaborations between Western architects and designers like Frank Lloyd Wright, Antonin Raymond and Charlotte Perriand; with Japanese builders, artisans and manufacturers. A long list of contemporary artists and craftspeople have been recruited in Kyoto and all over Japan, as well as California, to contribute to the deeply eclectic interiors of the property. Kyoto is well known for its tradition in the arts and high-quality craftsmanship. We spent five years looking all over Japan for artisans and craftsmen to collaborate with on the project, but the highest concentration of artists participating are from Kyoto prefecture. A great deal of inspiration was also found in Kengo Kuma’s work, our architectural partner on the project, and his use of Japanese finishes and techniques. We focused on materials used in traditional Japanese architecture: wood framing, washi, stucco, tatami and woven bamboo among many others, and tried to create a dialogue with the West in their application, sometimes stepping out of tradition and seeing them in a new light. We’ve always loved the warmth and organic quality of Kengo Kuma's minimalist architecture but felt a stronger dialogue with the West was appropriate for the Ace Hotel project. We achieved that dialogue by bringing in layers of design, from different eras and styles, and organic materials used in unexpected ways, to create collected and highly textured interiors.