Heritage of Tradition and Rebirth

Aired: Sep. 26, 2019

One of Japan’s most highly reputed hotels, beloved by visitors from overseas throughout the years, has been reborn. Here, you can find the heritage of tradition. This segment features the endeavors of hoteliers and artisans to emulate the original space, long regarded as a masterpiece of Japanese modernism.

The Okura Tokyo's lobby
Okura Lanterns
Shinji Umehara (in the middle), general manager of The Okura Tokyo, checking the recreated Okura Lanterns
Artisan Tokinobu Sada working on the Kumiko woodwork for the lobby

Viewers’ Voice

The segment on refurnishment of a grand hotel and the attention to details taken was impressive. The hotel’s effort to maintain its lobby design as close as possible to the original while making everything new is indeed worth highlighting.

From Singapore

The subtle question answered by this segment is, does traditional artisan artwork and concept have a room to modern day Japan? Yes. It is celebrated with the feature of one of the most iconic and prestigious hotels in Japan, The Okura Tokyo. It underwent extensive renovation works to keep up with the ever-changing tastes of discerning global travelers. The revitalised lobby included modern installations that was done discreetly so not to lose the essence of what was there. Hoteliers and artisans must strike the balance to maintain the Okura hotel heritage and at the same time, stay relevant. Hotel lobbies usually showcase impressive artworks like statues and grand staircase but in the case of The Okura Tokyo it reproduced the installation of kumiko, a traditional functional piece of art as the main focal point.

From the UK

I remember to have watched some time ago a report on the last day ceremony of Hotel Okura, with many people mourning its closure and fearing that the renovation works could ruin its magical atmosphere. But the results were excellent, one could still sense the history and perceive the charm of the old building; In the lobby, it was like nothing had been touched, despite the fact everything was brand new. The part in which it was shown how the artisans reconstructed the wooden screen of the lobby windows was very catchy, I didn’t know anything about the kumiko technique and I had not ever realized the difficult work it needed behind such delicate patterns.

From Italy

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