It’s not unusual for hotels to feature artworks in their guest rooms, but it IS relatively unusual for the room itself to BE the work of art. We found out what its like to sleep in a work of art when we stayed in one of the Park Hotel Tokyo’s Artist Rooms.
The Park Hotel Tokyo is a luxurious hotel situated in Shiodome, an area of Tokyo a short walk from the Ginza shopping district. Like many Tokyo hotels, the hotel itself occupies just a part of a multi-use tower: the ten top floors of the Shiodome Media Tower. It is however, quite unique in that all the rooms surround a ten-story atrium core. This means that every guest room faces outwards and has views of parts of Tokyo.
But what really attracted us to this hotel was the Artist Room concept. For almost three years, the hotel has had an ‘Artist in Hotel’ project where an artist is invited to decorate an entire guestroom. This project is on-going and by 2016, all the rooms on the 31st floor will be Artist Rooms.
The Poolboy and I reserved an Artist Room for ourselves, while the girls stayed in a regular (unadorned) twin room. Specific Artist’s Rooms may be requested when booking, but are subject to availability. You can see the full range of rooms decorated so far at the hotel’s Art Colours page. As you can see at that link, the style of each Artist Room varies dramatically.
We requested Room No. 3 (called Washi) by Naoki Takenouchi, which is a king room and were fortunate that it was available.
Takenouchi stayed at the hotel for just over two weeks in November 2013 and decorated the room on the theme of Washi or Japanese paper.
This short (one minute) video shows some of the process of his creation:
Takenouchi stuck washi paper to the walls, printed on it with woodblocks and created lamp shades and sculptural elements with it.
I wasn’t sure about the durability of paper for a heavy wear situation like a hotel room, but 18 months down the track after its initial installation, the room was still looking pristine and as if the artist had just walked out of it.
Outside of decorating hotel rooms, Takenouchi uses Japanese paper in all his artworks. He says on the Art Colours website:
I started wood engraving 30 years ago. As I started cutting all those years ago, I became totally absorbed, and large works took shape one after another.
Eventually, I was no longer satisfied with wood engraving, and expanded the field of expression from two dimensions to the world of three.
I continue to strive for an environment where I can express myself freely and with this room which features the unique characteristics of Japanese paper, which has been used since ancient times in Japan, I have been able to do so.
Washi can be painted, printed, crumpled, folded or rolled, and it’s strong.
You can do whatever you like with it, so it is a perfect material for me to work with.
I hope that all who stay in the Washi AIH room have a relaxing experience surrounded by Japanese tradition and creativity.
In conjunction with his room-decorating, the hotel held an exhibition of Takenouchi’s works. You can see a gallery of them at this link.
Staying in this room certainly gave us something special to look forward to coming back to each evening.
Of course, the art experience doesn’t come for free, and the Artists Rooms are more expensive than the similar configuration without the decoration. However, the difference wasn’t so significant as to deter us.
The detailsPark Hotel Tokyo
Shiodome Media Tower
Would you pay extra to stay in an artwork?
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