Shiroiya Inn, the Hotel Designed and Directed by Sou Fujimoto

Ciro Marco Musella
·2 minuto per la lettura
Photo credit: Foto di Shinya Kigure
Photo credit: Foto di Shinya Kigure

From ELLE Decor

Of various marbles, wrought with subtle care, Is the proud palace.” It’s with this that Orlando Furioso’s XII canto begins, where Ariosto’s recounts the Castle of Atlantes, a stunning backdrop to place the quest in act — an incessant and fruitless search that animates the poem’s main character. Running to and fro in a desperate search for Angelica, Orlando comes across the interiors of a palace which reveal themselves to be the “joust of illusions,” as Calvino would call them in his reinterpretation of the piece. It’s a place that recounts what it isn’t, steeped in mystery and magic, from which Sou Fujimoto seems to have drawn inspiration for his latest work.

Photo credit: Foto di Shinya Kigure
Photo credit: Foto di Shinya Kigure

In Maebashi, in the heart of Japan and just two hours from Tokyo, the historic Shiroiya Inn hotel, closed in 2008 after over 300 years in business, finally reopens its doors with a chimeric look. If you make it past the facade — almost mimetic if it weren’t for the unexpected work of renowned artist Lawrence Weiner — the hotel is presented like a fortress on a steep green hill, nestled in the urban fabric and rising up like the very Castle described by Ariosto. Interiors, meanwhile, are labyrinthine, with a spattering of concrete beams and pillars met with plants and prized materials. The man behind the unexpected project is none other than Japanese archistar Sou Fujimoto, called to relaunch the hotel, restore the Heritage Tower dating back to the Seventies, and construct the new Green Tower, a structure imagined as a hill in the middle of the city.

Photo credit: Foto di Katsumasa Tanaka
Photo credit: Foto di Katsumasa Tanaka

Peering out onto surroundings, rooms on the upper floors of the Green Tower were realized by some of the most renowned maestros of international design. Almost like the director of an orchestra, Fujimoto has convened these prestigious figures from the worlds of architecture, art and design in order to render the experience at the Shiroiya Hotel one-of-a-kind. Here then, the lighting pipes of Argentine artist Leandro Erlich guide clients to the property’s 17 rooms, like that designed by the italianissimo Michele De Lucchi, who uses nothing more than wood to play with the chiaroscuro and shadows of the screen, and the room of Leandro Erlich, where tubes become a sculpture and a lighting system placed above the bed and along the walls.

Photo credit:  Foto di Shinya Kigure
Photo credit: Foto di Shinya Kigure

Then there’s the room from British designer Jasper Morrison, where simple forms and oriental references reign, along with that of Sou Fujimoto himself — a space coated in tones of white and gray. To these, other guest rooms are added, each embellished with various works of art from international creatives. The project, which required nearly six years to complete, will be officially inaugurated on December 12, and will also welcome the expertise of Hiroyasu Kawate, one of the most famous chefs in the country, who will supervise the restaurant’s gourmet offerings.

Photo credit: Foto di Shinya Kigure
Photo credit: Foto di Shinya Kigure

www.sou-fujimoto.net

www.shiroiya.com