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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Japanese traditional crafts to the fore!

By Leah Linhares
Photography: Koichi Torimura; courtesy the architect
Read Time: 2 mins

open plan accentuated with rough-cut stone and glass walls
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Simple traditional craft and nature give the architects of Makoto Yamaguchi Design a direction for the remodelling of a resort…


Holidays are just one of those times, when you quit the world and travel off to a far, far away land. Ar. Makoto Yamaguchi’s recent project is located on one such land.   

wooded beauty
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Amidst the mountainous terrain of Yugawara, Tokyo, Makoto Yamaguchi Design’s recently renovated inn blooms with inspiration taken not only from its green surroundings but also from rich Japanese craft.

natural materials with polished surfaces
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Wanting to create a fusion of the two elements – richly textured natural materials and traditional Japanese craft - to form a beautiful contrast, the architects tore off much of the walls of this Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), creating spaces that would be redefined into ‘zones’.

wall clad with rough-cut stone
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Walk through the entrance of this inn and you feel like you’ve entered outside. The architects’ idea to give the visitors a ‘feel’ of nature gives birth to the placement of rough-cut stone covers on the floor and along one wall; and the especially built reception counter. As this area contributes to the ‘rugged’ forest-feel, conquering your sense of touch, the next focus is purely on the subtlety of craft.

traditional Japanese screen
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Two traditional craft practices – the Asanoha pattern stamped on wallpaper using the traditional wood block-printing technique – Karakami; and Kumiko-Zaiku, where delicate strips of wood are assembled into a large wooden screen without nails are woven into wallpaper panels and a dividing screen respectively. With a smartly planned lighting system, the stone and the soft-flecked gold paint tend to play mesmerically on your senses.

zen like aura
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The spacious lounge is dimly lit and as the bar opens to a luscious view of the forest outside, the atmosphere gets cozier and homely. Yet, the most interesting space here is the restaurant, where glass walls and the Kumiko screens create a transparent layered effect with the wilderness outdoors.


beautiful play of light
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beautiful play of light and shadow
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Inside the restaurant, the architects effect privacy using translucent curtains that gently divide the large space. To emphasize the difference, dark brown stone is used while minimal lighting illuminates only the tables. Custom designed furniture and dark wood complement the atmosphere; contributing wholesomely to a cocooned feel amidst nature!

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