TRUNK(HOUSE) hotel: a hyperlocal immersive experience encompassed by Japanese art

A one-bedroom property, located in a historical building – a former geisha hotel – within Tokyo’s Kagurazaka neighborhood

TRUNK(HOUSE) is a hyperlocal immersive hospitality-concept located in a historical building – a former geisha house – within Tokyo’s Kagurazaka neighborhood, offering guests the chance to reside alongside an array of newly-commissioned artworks by up-and-coming local artists to the internationally acclaimed.

TRUNK(HOUSE) was created with the concept of ‘Tokyo Salon’ as its core referencing the many salons that permeated the city in the 17th and 18th centuries. These were spaces where artists and academics would come together to discuss and debate late into the night on issues that would shape the cultural landscape of the city.

TRUNK(HOUSE) from the outside

By filling the space with contemporary art – and design created bespoke and from the likes of Stephen Kenn and JeanProuvé – the team at TRUNK(HOUSE) hopes guests will leave inspired.

Each artist was selected by the TRUNK team on the basis of their cultural influences and ties to Tokyo and Japan; in so doing, TRUNK has created a space that interprets contemporary Japanese culture and the spirit of Tokyo city through both a local and international lens. The body of works ranges from painting, sculpture, crafts, to paper cut-out art.

Clean and uncluttered living
The entrance corner of the TRUNK(HOUSE) expresses clean and uncluttered Japanese living

Tom Sachs (USA) — born in New York — created ‘Ryakubon2.0’ for TRUNK(HOUSE). Best known for his modernist influences and work with design icons, Sachs’ collections can be found in the permanent collections of many world-leading galleries.

This new artwork embodies ryakubon temae (a short-cut course of the tea ceremony) and is Sachs’ personal homage to the revered art of Japanese tea ceremonies. Trunk(House) offers tea ceremonies performed using this work.

TRUNK(HOUSE) has minimal interiors
The dining area in the TRUNK(HOUSE) generates a meditative and warm environment by nature peeking into the room

Alex Dodge’s (USA) ‘Hide and Seek’ hangs above the bed, coloring the pared-down space with its presence. Inspired by a ryotei (a type of luxurious Japanese restaurant) on Kakurenbo Yokocho (Hide-and-Seek Alley), the work was conceived as a nod to the local area’s past.

A homage to Japanese public baths that used to be found in every town ofJapan, Masumi Ishikawa’s (Japan) ‘Scenic Tour of Tokyo: Then and Now’ adorns the tiled wall overlooking TRUNK(HOUSE)’s the bathing area. Ishikawa’s commission heavily references ukiyo-e (meaning “pictures of the floating world”), a genre of Japanese art that flourished from the 17th through the 19thcenturies.

Bathroom's artist works
TRUNK(HOUSE) has taken Japanese art into consideration which can be found in all the areas including the bathroom

Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as the female form; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and shunga erotica.

Several of Keiko Masmuoto’s (Japan) works can also be found throughout TRUNK(HOUSE). Masumoto’s work largely concerns itself with the idea of ‘a dish that is not a dish’. She creates dynamic decorative art that references historic cultural aspects of the local area of Kagurazaka.

TRUNK(HOUSE) has one bedroom with open plan
The bedroom of the TRUNK(HOUSE) is a generous open planimetry where minimal furnishings and a lower bed complement the space with one another

For example, a pot modeled after the shamisen (Japanese guitar) which was found in the building before renovation; a pot inspired by tabby cats, which were closely associated with the area; and a hanging flower vase, a common motif of geisha.

GELCHOP’s (Japan) ‘Karma Camellia’ greets guests as they enter through the wooden doors that open into TRUNK(HOUSE), initiating the act of transportation to another place. Formed in 2000, GELCHOP is a 3D plastic art group comprising Ryota Morikawa, Tetsuya Ozawa, and Ryohei Takahashi. GELCHOP sees ‘Karma Camellia’ as a reminder to forget life’s daily struggles.

Private small disco
TRUNK(HOUSE) has a private small disco as a surprise element contradicting other formal spaces of the house

Chiaki Hirano’s (Japan) artwork is created through a unique technique that utilizes paper and a cutter knife. Through this technique, he created ‘TOKYOCOMPLEX – KagurazakaUsing’ for TRUNK(HOUSE): which overlaps black and white imagery of old houses, aerial photos, and machine parts.

The combination of apparently unrelated images creates a striking collage –perhaps mirroring the many aspects that come together to make Tokyo.

TRUNK(HOUSE) dining window looking through garden

Heavogon Studio (Japan) is an art studio led by Reo Taniwha. The studio promotes and specializes in creating modern stained glass: with ‘Mt. Fuji’ and ‘Smoking Frog’ created and housed in TRUNK(HOUSE).

Whilst the glass used in these two pieces were sourced from the USA, France and the UK: the pieces are heavily inspired by Japanese iconography.


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