Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

ANDRÉ FU STUDIO was tasked with completing Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto drawing inspiration for the project from three words – authentic, mystical and artisanal.

  • Year 2020
  • Location Kyoto, Japan,
  • Type Hotel,
  • On 3rd November, the newest addition to Kyoto’s hotel scene will open its doors. HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO has been developed by an awardwinning team of specialists, masters in their own fields, with André Fu Studio, the only nonJapanese designer, at the helm, creating the guest rooms and public spaces.

    Kyoto is a city rich with history, beautifully preserved in a particular time and place, yet distinctively modern. Embracing Japan’s beauty and Kyoto’s heritage, HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO is built on the site of the original residence of the Kitake, the executive branch of the Mitsui family, and directly faces Nijō-jo Castle in the city centre.

    With a deep understanding of the traditions of the former resident of the Mitsui Family, Fu’s aim was to preserve a sense of heritage, whilst overlaying it with a contemporary interpretation of Kyoto’s history.

    Kyoto itself embraces many aspects of Japanese beauty in one city; it is abundant with specialist craftsmen, from kimono artisans to sword makers, dedicating their life to a single trade. In designing HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, Fu worked closely with the local craftspeople and artists, to incorporate an authentic spirit of Kyoto into the hotel.

    Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a 300-year-old Kajiimiya Gate from the original Mitsui residence. Fu collaborated with Kyoto artisans to restore the gate’s weathered wood, giving it a silver-grey patina that infuses the interiors with a sense of true local craftsmanship.

    The pathway through the gate leads into a lush bamboo forest, the first garden within the property, which connects to the lobby. Once inside, guests are led through a sequence of distinct spaces, each leading into the next starting with a glass facade, which provides a sense of closeness to nature. Inside the lobby, there is a wall of angular timber slats – an abstract tribute to the nearby bamboo forest and a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese architecture’s use of a Kekkai, a bamboo hedge, intended to create a spiritual yet functional barrier.

    An enormous shoji lantern is suspended from the ceiling of the lobby and the walls are lined with sycamore to enhance the intimacy of the space. Fu collaborated with Japanese artist Yukiya Izumita to create pieces that add a rustic quality against the backdrop – the centerpiece is a large ceramic sculpture set in finely raked sand, which evokes antiquity and modernity, fragility and strength, and vulnerability and resilience.

    Photography: Courtesy of ANDRÉ FU STUDIO