August 2, 2013

On a recent trip to Tokyo, Miranda and I made a pilgrimmage to the famous Okura Hotel. Not so much because it’s a sensational example of mid-century interior architecture (though it certainly is) but because one of our best friends insists he was conceived there. Designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi and opened for business in 1962, the austere, slightly cleft rectangular exterior belies an interior that is as sumptuous as it is sparse. In a city in which space is at a premium, the elegant expanse of the lobby is an early expression of what would later become known in the fashion world as “stealth wealth”. It’s like a Zen rock garden – each grouping of low tables and bucket chairs is a microcosm, the space between them as significant as the snappy styling of the furniture itself. As for the Orchid Bar – it’s the essence of international chic, the mother-of-pearl fittings and Noguchi-style lighting the perfect setting for the belle époque of jetsetting. Timeless.

Author: Nick tobias