“60’s design you feel from the moment you step into the lobby.”
from: Paul Smith
“The Okura is a great place where, from the moment you step into the lobby, you feel the design of 1960s. I used to stay in a room with a balcony and I have been interested to see how the hotel was being modernized. Rooms may be beautiful in any hotel in the world, but the TV has become larger and we need more outlets for computers and so on, which makes the room look smaller. For such reasons, hotels may be facing the necessity to rebuild. London is successful in maintaining the old buildings, and there are people who think that is beautiful and people who don’t. However, it would be at the Okura that people who work in creative fields would prefer to stay.’
Fashion designer. Established <Paul Smith Limited> in 1970. In 2000, he was granted knighthood and the title Sir for his distinguished achievement in design. Sir Paul has vast insight into design in general, beyond fashion.
“It should be preserved as an irreplaceable symbol.”
from: Roman and Williams
Our favorite thing about the Hotel Okura, one of its most beloved features, is its classic midcentury qualities and the fact that the hotel has remained essentially untouched for over five decades, since 1962. To visit is to take a step back in time and become fully immersed in the world of Japan in the 1960’s. We fell in love with it on our first visit. The hotel perfectly combines classic Japanese service with a very refined, international style of design. The wonderful Okura lanterns in the lobby are iconic, we can’t get enough of them every time we visit. The symmetry of the décor and architecture create the most peaceful hotel experience imaginable. We love to have our own bottle of Hibiki Whiskey in our beloved bar The Orchid Room, where we can throw back to a different era that we love and appreciate. The entire experience is elegant and full of character. The hotel has that magical quality that certain places have, a quality that is difficult to put your finger on but makes for a once in a lifetime experience and leaves a lasting impression. Whether the architecture or the experience, it’s a hybrid of 20th century design and glamour that we believe is a remarkable and critical symbol of global experience and design that must be preserved.
Roman and Williams
Interior design duo, Stephen Alesch from Los Angeles and Robin Standefer from New York. Their work includes the interior of The Ace Hotel NY and other commercial and residential projects, film set design, and more.
“Still Avant-garde design today.”
from: Masaya Kuroki
“I went to the Okura for the first time when I was 5 or 6. I remember how small I felt in the lobby. I must have been overwhelmed by the size and beauty of the Okura. As I like the elegance and serenity of the Okura, I was a little disappointed to hear that it was going to be renovated, but I am sure it will be more stylish. When the hotel opened, I am sure that the Okura was avant-garde compared to other hotels at that time. Even now it looks innovative. The ambience created by the thickness of the wallpaper, slightly dark yet warm lighting, the scale of gallery, and so on is difficult to describe in words. I have no doubt that the hotel will be a special place after it’s rebuilt.”
Creative director of <Maison Kitsuné>. Born 1975 in Tokyo. Moved to Paris when he was 12 years old. In 1999, obtained national certification in architecture. In 2002, established <Maison Kitsuné> with Gildas Loaëc.
photo: Alice Moitié Horiz
“A masterpiece of modernism. We should protect it as a cultural asset for the future”
from: Margaret Howell
The Okura is the hotel where I, a great admirer of Modernism, can stay with great comfort. I have been staying here twice a year since the 80’s and I was shocked to hear about the plan that it was to be rebuilt. The hotel has preserved the original design without being influenced by passing fashion, and I can always feel at home in its atmosphere cultivated over 50 years. While there are many hotels where you can’t open the windows of rooms, at Okura you can always open the windows and breathe in the unique flavor of Tokyo. It is such a pity to destroy this place for the Olympics, which is an event of just brief duration. It is a relief that the annex will remain but I believe that this masterpiece of Japanese modernism is a cultural asset to be preserved for the future. I wish that people would acknowledge its rare value.
Fashion designer. Men’s and ladies collection established in 1970. Since her boutique opened in Aoyama in 1983, she regularly comes to Japan. She admires the element of handcrafting and produces lifestyle designs that include interior accessories and furniture.
“A comfortable place that suits my aesthetic sense.”
from: Thom Browne
It was about 5 years ago when I visited the Okura for the first time. The design of the façade, main lobby, Orchid Bar, and the service suited my aesthetic sense and I felt comfortable. Everything is very simple and sophisticated. When I opened my store in 2013, we hosted a dinner at the Orchid Room. Whenever I stay at the Okura, I have breakfast here, and want everyone to experience my favorite interior and lighting and everything else. I am deeply disappointed to hear that the main building will be demolished. It reminds me of Pennsylvania Station in NYC, which was demolished in the mid-20th century.
Fashion designer. Started a custom clothing line in 2001, and Men’s RTW collection in 2004. In 2013, he opened a store in Tokyo followed by New York.
photo: Todd Jordan
“A temple of Modernism.”
from: Sean MacPherson
I stayed at the Okura 10 years ago for the first time. I just loved it. I think it’s one of the gems on the planet. Two things stand out. One is its perfectly preserved modernism of a sort that is harder and harder to find. The other was the precision of the entire place. Japan has precision running through the entire culture, but that hotel in particular had a perfect modern visual aesthetic, and the whole thing felt like a perfectly tuned instrument. Corbusier said that the home is a machine for living, and the Okura really felt like that machine for living. To me the Okura, isn’t just an example of Japanese Modernism, it’s sort of a temple of Modernism, period. By international standards it’s one of the great examples.
Hotelier. Produced many spaces that remade urban culture. These include the Bowery Hotel, the Maritime Hotel, the Ludlow Hotel. He also participates in their design. He was born in California and is now based in New York.
photo: Naho Kubota
“Demolition of the Okura is a tragedy.”
from: Steven Holl
I stayed at the Okura in 1989 for the first time and was deeply impressed by the space. You can see the Japanese traditional elements throughout the hotel while maintaining the sense of Modernist architecture. The low-set windows to view the outer garden, soft light coming through shoji screens, lacquered tables, low chairs and so on…. The details of the Okura have maintained their beauty over the years. Even reflecting the joy and optimism of 20th century, there is no easiness, just honesty. The demolition of the Okura is a tragedy. Excellent architecture is like beautiful music that can appeal to all. They should find an alternative solution and the building should be passed on to future generations. Architecture possesses a special value, like the other arts. It is a treasure that should be inherited by successive generations.
Architect. Born in 1947 in the USA. In 1976, established <Steven Holl Architects>. In Japan, he produced the Fukuoka Nexus World Housing. In 2014, awarded The Premium Imperiale (the international arts award memorializing Prince Takamatsu).