Kengo Kuma to Design Japan’s First Ace Hotel Property

The design will reference Kyoto's industrial and imperial histories. Image courtesy Kengo Kuma and Associates.

Ace Hotels has announced that Kengo Kuma will design the brand’s first hotel in Japan. Slated to open in winter 2019, the Ace Hotel Kyoto will aim to develop a dialogue between Kyoto’s past and future as historic elements of the transformed of Kyoto Central Telephone Office are woven in harmony with a new-build.

“The thought was to create a hotel that is connected to Kyoto and open to the surrounding area. To begin with, the proposition was to create a dense garden where communities, as well as the past and the present, are connected to this venerable land with its various gardens, which have existed since the Heian period,” Kuma said. “Every detail and material were thought through to connect the building, land, and history together.”

Emphasizing Kyoto’s industrial and imperial legacies, the repurposed Tetsuro Yoshida-designed structure from the 1920s will be updated with a wooden grid system inspired by regional design principles, while fine louvers and meshes will provide environmental support to subtly filter light and wind. The interior design will be punctuated with furnishings and décor sourced by Japanese artisans and craftspeople to establish an authentic sense of place.