Kengo Kuma and Commune Design team up for the Ace Hotel Kyoto

Nippon Nights

Kengo Kuma and Commune Design team up for the Ace Hotel Kyoto

An eclectic mix of materials, patterns, and finishes establishes a laid-back yet refined aesthetic that is indicative of both the Ace Hotel’s own aesthetic and Japanese tradition. (Stephen Kent Johnson)

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, the world’s eyes are turning to Japan. However, focus on this densely-populated country’s creative output is nothing new. For the past decade, leading Japanese talents, brands, and institutions have had a significant impact on the global art, architecture, and design scenes. This summer’s event marks a pivotal moment in this cultural progression.

To mark the occasion, boutique Ace Hotel chain has opened a new Kyoto outpost. Designed by seminal architect Kengo Kuma—who is also heading up the design of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium—and award-winning Los Angeles-based practice Commune Design, the property is set to become a new hub for Japan’s historic cultural capital.  A bustling lobby, verdant courtyard, art gallery, and events space will complement an array of guest rooms, and will also stand independently as gathering spaces for the wider community.

True to the trendy hotel chain’s brand, the design of this latest outpost incorporates a warm, laid-back, albeit refined, aesthetic. Carefully crafted details play a starring role as Ace’s eclectic and luxurious aesthetic joins local traditions.

This new venue targets an upwardly mobile creative class, but its evocative scheme pays homage to the city’s history. A portion of the 213-room hotel repurposes the historic Kyoto Central Telephone Company building, designed by modernist architect Tetsuro Yoshida in 1926.

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