Surrealism takes centre stage at David Rockwell's 'otherworldly' Tokyo hotel

The ethereal dream-like environment is augmented through the design’s careful articulation of the boundaries between the interior of the hotel and the sky that surrounds it
– David Rockwell

David Rockwell has designed Starwood’s first Luxury Collection hotel in Tokyo – an “ethereal dream-like environment” that has now opened in the historic heart of the Japanese capital.

The designer’s vision for The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho was inspired by “the sprawling sky and kaleidoscopic colours of the surrounding city,” which the hotel overlooks from its position across the top seven floors of the new 36-storey Tokyo Garden Terrace tower in Chiyoda ward.

The design concept for both the public areas and the 250 guestrooms is a sense of otherworldliness, mixed with “a striking contemporary aesthetic”. Surreal furnishings and objects that appear to be floating create an illusion of levitation, while theatre-style proscenium arches frame outside views of landmarks such as Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace – blurring reality and performance. According to Rockwell, “the dream-like feeling is augmented through the design’s careful articulation of the boundaries between the interior of the hotel and the sky that surrounds it.”

Hotel guests check-in on the 36th floor, which opens up to a 9m tall sky lobby lounge, reception area and elongated sculptural bar.

Other amenities include the 126-seat Oasis Garden restaurant on the 35th floor. Delicate plants align the walls to create an atmosphere of a forest or garden within the surrounding clouds. Stainless steel tree trunks, a Venetian plaster ceiling depicting treetop foliage and a vertical herb garden complement the theme further.

A Japanese restaurant, called Washouku Souten, is designed based on the characteristics of ice to emphasise the freshness of the food served, while a glowing glass waterfall installation by Japanese artist Mari Noguchi is the centrepiece for the hotel’s main bar.

Rockwell has also designed a street-level hotel spa with hot bath facilities, five treatment rooms, a gym, yoga studios and retail area. A wavy wooden wall leads guests into the spa, where a mist-filled entrance pool appears to float. Portals visually connect the treatment rooms, gym and locker rooms, while the use of wood and translucent materials once again brings back the idea of levitation.

Starwood was acquired by hotel giant Marriott International last year, which has launched a new luxury division that includes The Luxury Collection, along with the St. Regis, W Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, Edition and JW Marriott brands.

Marriott is scheduled to open nearly 30 hotels in its luxury portfolio in 2017, and has a total of 180 luxury hotels in its development pipeline, representing 20 new countries – from Iceland to Nepal to Cuba.

The Rockwell Group are known for their imaginative hotel designs. The firm – which merge architecture, theatre, craftsmanship and technology – have also worked on cultural institutions, offices, transportation, residential, set design, products, exhibitions and festivals.

Founder David Rockwell previously discussed his design philosophy and future plans in a 2015 interview with CLADmag.

David Rockwell  Rockwell Group  Starwood  Marriott  design  Japan  Tokyo  The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho 
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David Rockwell has designed Starwood’s first Luxury Collection hotel in Tokyo – an “ethereal dream-like environment” that has now opened in the historic heart of the Japanese capital. The designer’s vision for The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho was inspired by “the sprawling sky and kaleidoscopic colours of the surrounding city,” which the hotel overlooks from its position across the top seven floors of the new 36-storey Tokyo Garden Terrace tower
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Theatre-style proscenium arches frame outside views of landmarks such as Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace / Ed Reeve
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