Line-Inc create eclectic home away from home in landmark from the days of Imperial Japan

by Andrew Manns | 23 Apr 2019

Tokyo-based architecture studio Line-Inc have transformed a 1930s-era hotel in Hokkaido, Japan into the Unwind Hotel and Bar Otaru.

Erstwhile known as the Etchuya Hotel, the building was originally designed by Japanese architect Kuniharu Karasawa, who devised its master plan during the country's pre-war period to appeal to foreign tourists.

The site was later purchased by real estate developer Global Agents, which subsequently commissioned Line-Inc to restore the space to its original glory.

The 1,708 sq m structure itself is an architectural chimera, an eclectic mix of Functionalism, Style Moderne, and Ryokan-inspired design.

While Unwind's common areas – including its bar and restaurant – retain many of their original attributes, such as stained glass windows and mosaic-tiled floors, the hotel's 36 guest rooms feature minimalistic furnishings.

Line-Inc told CLAD that they "tried to combine tradition and the present without discomfort".

In a statement, Takeshi Yamasaki, CEO at Global Agents, said: "Preserving the historical aspect of the building and the area surrounding was a huge challenge but integral to the conception of this hotel.

"The building's rich history gives us the chance to offer guests a unique experience that can transcend a typical stay."

Global Agents' first Unwind hotel, located in Sapporo, was sold to Chinese firm Sis International in March 2018. The company has plans to launch six additional hospitality venues across Japan by the end of the year.

Line-Inc  Global Agents  Japan 
Tokyo-based architecture studio Line-Inc have transformed a 1930s-era hotel in Hokkaido, Japan into the Unwind Hotel and Bar Otaru. Erstwhile known as the Etchuya Hotel, the building was originally designed by Japanese architect Kuniharu Karasawa, who devised its master plan during the country's pre-war period to appeal to foreign tourists. The site was later purchased by real estate developer Global Agents, which subsequently commissioned Line-Inc to restore the space to
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The architects told <i>CLAD</i> that they wanted to create a comfortable mixture of the past and the present. / Photo by Kozo Takayama
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