HOSPITALITYDESIGN: Ace Hotel Kyoto Exudes Tranquil Sophistication in Japan


Photography by Yoshihiro Makino •
August 15, 2020

Architecture and design firms: Kengo Kuma & Associates, Tokyo and Paris; Atelier Ace, New York; and Commune, Los Angeles

The details: Ace Hotel Group debuted in Japan this spring with the opening of the 213-room Ace Hotel Kyoto, which spans a new build as well as the former Kyoto Central Telephone Office, originally designed by modernist architect Tetsuro Yoshida in 1926. While Kengo Kuma spearheaded the architecture for both volumes, Ace’s in-house team collaborated with Commune to imagine interiors that echoed the setting’s tranquil sophistication. “We culled inspiration from Kyoto’s elevation of craft and the enduring appreciation between East and West design,” says Kelly Sawdon, partner and chief brand officer for Ace Hotel Group.

The design honors local artisan traditions through the use of native woods, washi paper, glazed tile, copper, raked stucco, and tatami. “Most finishes will change with use and be marked by time,” notes Commune owner and creative director Roman Alonso. A palette of natural materials complements ryokan-inspired spaces where a balance is struck between tradition and innovation. “While Ace has a long history of breathing life into old structures, this project saw renewed potential in the possibilities of connecting the past and the future,” Sawdon says. “The hotel’s design allows you to embrace the richness of the city, relish in the details, or step back and create your own adventures while having an inspired place to return to.”


This article originally appeared in HD’s July 2020 issue.

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