Design of Japan, Part One: Park Hotel and Kitte Department Store

Arts Trends Trends & Culture - March 21st, 2014
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If you’ve lived in Japan for a while, or come to visit with a very specific idea in mind (e.g. Japanese food or travel), it could be easy to forget or take for granted the fascinating design of Japan.


By Sami Kawahara


From the towering buildings in central Tokyo to the sophisticated toilets at your local combini, everything in Japan is carefully crafted.

In an effort to promote this Japanese design to the world, Creative Tokyo—a government sponsored initiative—took us on a three-day tour of the city to remind us of the beauty that surrounds us everyday. Here are some of the highlights of day one in a three-part series:

Park Hotel

When you hear the name “Park Hotel” in Tokyo, you might automatically think of the 52nd floor of the famous Lost in Translation bar in Shinjuku. However, tucked in the modern area of Shiodome is a truly unique hotel with impressive aesthetics and design.

The hotel recently launched a project and new line of guest rooms, called the Artist in Hotel project, where Japanese artists paint on the walls of a room. Each room is painted in a unique way, according to the individual artist’s inspiration, and the Park Hotel plans to introduce nine new Artist Rooms each year till 2016.

Stepping into each of these rooms gave us a true sense of the artist’s passion, starting with the dragon-themed room, which you can see above:

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Next we moved onto the Sumo Room. The sumo details found on the bathroom walls or in the desk drawers made this room fun to experience:
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KITTE

The next stop was KITTE, one of Tokyo’s newest and most interesting department stores, located next to Tokyo Station. Marking its one year anniversary this month, Japan Post celebrates the successful launch of its first department store (aptly named KITTE for both stamp in Japanese and kite meaning “come”) with approximately 100 shops.

Created under the concept of connecting people and connecting old and new Japan, KITTE showcases Japanese designers, making for an experience that combines the right amount of tradition and modern touches mixed together.

The building built in 1931 is the first display of KITTE’s innovative design:

KITTE

KITTE

KITTE

KITTE’s outdoor garden

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KITTE

LED energy-saving design

KITTE

Also housed in KITTE is a museum built in collaboration with Tokyo University and the Japan Post. Lectures by professors are held at this museum, but it is open to the public free of charge:
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KITTE
Across the street from Tokyo Station
KITTE
The highlight of KITTE for us was the Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten store with all original, handcrafted Japanese-made products. Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten is a 300-year-old company that specializes in creating products with concept of “tools for your life,” or products you can use everyday. The store had everything from fashion accessories and tableware to beauty supplies and bonsai trees.
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Next up will be Japanese Fashion showcased at the Runway Shows in Tokyo!
Photos by Sami Kawahara