The Ultimate Tokyo Travel Guide For Design Lovers ⇒ Tokyo is a huge mix of different design trends, from traditional to minimalist, futuristic or contemporary. So there’s no doubt: Tokyo is a design and architecture lover’s paradise. Today, CovetED brings you a guide that joins old-world beauty, radical innovation, and just plain weird. But we advise you to not stick too close to any itinerary. The beauty of the city is getting lost and the key is to alternate the visual overload with moments of total zen.
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The first spot is the newly opened Trunk, right in the middle of Shibuya, offering one of Tokyo’s first boutique hotel experiences. With just 11 single rooms and four suites, the hotel—with a material palette that revolves around weathered, reclaimed woods—focuses on creating inviting public spaces where guests are meant to mingle with locals.
Hoshinoya Tokyo is an 84-room oasis in the city’s Otemachi district that’s perfect if you don’t want to socialize or want total privacy. Entered through a discreet door on a quiet side street, the elegant glass building is encased in a metal lattice that mimics the floral Edo Komon pattern. Inside, guests are asked to ditch their shoes, that are placed in elegant chestnut-and-bamboo shoeboxes along the wall and given back upon departure, don a kimono, and luxuriate in the property’s rooftop hot spring’s with restorative water. For the full experience, descend to the restaurants shadowy lower levels for a private tasting menu of chef Noriyuki Hamada.
If you’re looking for a totally local experience, venture out to Koenji or Akihabara where hotel start-up BnA (bed and art) have tapped local creatives to design totally extravagant rooms. In Koenji, guests can hang with members of the local art scene in the intimate downstairs bar. And at the Akihabara location, studio-style rooms feel more like apartments, allowing guests to prepare their own meals, do laundry, and really live like a local.
If you’re in the Meguro neighbourhood, you can’t miss Yakumo Saryo, where local architect Shinichiro Ogata (founder of design studio Simplicity) turned a traditional home into an elegant restaurant serving a modern take on seasonal kaiseki. While dinner is by invitation only, they take reservations for a multicourse breakfast and lunch.
Book a seat at the intimate blond bar of Sushi Rin, where the chef serves an artfully crafted omakase and pours sake into elegant cut-crystal glasses. You can also try their edited down lunch omakase for a fraction of the cost.
The Japanese obsession with all things Parisian reaches new heights at the Ladurée shop in Shibuya, where French talent India Mahdavi has created a colourful, classical interior that feels in keeping with the shop’s macaron box palette.
Walking down Avenue Omotesandō you can get a glimpse of the star-studded line up of fashion flagships—the SANAA-designed Dior, the Herzog & de Meuron Prada and Miu Miu, and the Toyo Ito–designed Tod’s. One block over from the major shopping street, you can find a stellar sampling of vintage and antique textiles at Morita. Their selection ranges from furoshiki, wood-block cloths used as decorative covers, to elaborately patched boro.
If you’re looking for the perfect knife, frying pan, or cutting board you can find it at the Mandai Architects–designed KIYA, in midtown, where common household objects are displayed like works of art on long plinth tables.
Naoki Sato‘s gallery Somewhere Tokyo is one of the few design-focused galleries you’ll find in Tokyo, a city where collectable design has not yet taken off. Here on a quiet side street in Meguro, a colourful mix of rare Postmodern and Memphis design sit alongside works by contemporary Japanese design talents.
No trip to Tokyo is complete without paying a visit to Dover Street Market, where the avant-garde fashions of Comme des Garçons hang alongside luxury brands like Saint Laurent, Alaïa, and Rick Owens amid a cast of ever-changing art installations.
After wandering through a string of starchitect-designed fashion flagships on Avenue Omotesandō, step inside the totally transportive Nezu Museum. Past a bamboo-lined entrance, Kengo Kuma’s minimalist museum hosts a collection of pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art and serves as an entry point to a spectacular garden and teahouse—a true oasis in the bustling city.
Immerse yourself in design at 21_21 Design Sight, an exhibition space and research centre designed by Tadao Ando and Issey Miyake with a concrete-and-glass form that resembles the intense geometry of Miyake’s pleated creations. Regardless of whatever exhibition is showing, the stark concrete geometry of the museum’s interior is truly the design sight to see.
Take the subway out to the cool suburb of Koenji, where among the vintage shops and record bars you can spot Sou Fujimoto’s famous transparent NA House, designed to mimic the sensation of living in a single tree. Its coordinates have been removed from Google Maps, but ask a friendly local and they’re sure to point you in the right direction.
In Aoyama, drop in on floral artist Azuma Makoto whose laboratory-like flower shop is open to the public. If you’re lucky, you might just meet the master himself, whose otherworldly “iced flowers” have graced the runway of Dries Van Noten.
DOLCE GABBANA’S TOKYO FLAGSHIP STORE BY GWENAEL NICOLAS
NEW TOM DIXON SHOP IN TOKYO
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Source: Architectural’s Digest