Throughout his decades as an architect, Kerry Hill was not one to subscribe to any formal design methodology. Instead, he spent his career in thoughtful pursuit of authenticity, allowing his work to realise itself through place, purpose, and material. Testament to this approach is Kerry’s body of work – spanning Asia, Australia, Europe, and China – which is internationally renowned for its culturally and climatically sensitive expression of tropical modernism.
Nestled deep within a secret garden at the heart of a 32-hectare forest in Japan’s ancient Imperial capital, Aman Kyoto marks the latest instalment in the suite of luxury resort destinations designed by Kerry for Aman Resorts.
Formed by a series of manicured platforms within a hidden valley, Aman Kyoto’s gardens are enclosed on one side by a trickling stream, and on another by an arboreal hill. Mature cedar, cypress, camellia, and Japanese maple trees form an ethereal landscape that evolves in colour throughout the year, transporting the garden from one season to another. Named the Kerry Hill Garden, in honour of Aman Kyoto’s designer and his long-standing relationship with Aman, the flourishing landscape stands as a living tribute to the late Australian architect.
Originally intended as the location for a textile museum, Aman Kyoto’s site is the unrealised dream of its former owner – one of Japan’s most respected collectors of the obi. Now, the tranquillity and drama of this setting provide the foundations for the pavilions of the resort.
Originally intended as the location for a textile museum, Aman Kyoto’s site is the unrealised dream of its former owner.
True to Aman’s aesthetic and Kerry’s ethos, the structures of Aman Kyoto are exemplary in their elegance, simplicity, and sensitivity toward their verdant surroundings. The interior palette is neutral, complementing the work of local artisans; handmade raku tile panels grace the Living Pavilion while custom-made ceramic tiles decorate the restaurant.
Strikingly minimalist in their design, Aman Kyoto’s 26 guest rooms boast floor-to-ceiling windows, framing spectacular views of the resort’s natural surroundings. Designed to foster peace, relaxation, and contemplation, the spacious and light-filled interiors celebrate the refined aesthetic and creative values of Japan. Tatami mats lay upon the guest room floors, while tokonoma alcoves provide focal points and quiet moments of artistic appreciation. All furniture pieces, including traditional Japanese lanterns, have been custom-designed and are exclusive to Aman Kyoto. All decorative artefacts, whether vases, artworks, or antiques, have been individually curated for each space.
Handmade raku tile panels grace the Living Pavilion while custom-made ceramic tiles decorate the restaurant.
As is characteristic of Kerry’s work, Aman Kyoto embodies a deep respect for the rich culture and natural beauty that surrounds it. In this respect, Aman Kyoto has been holistically designed to operate as an ecosystem; an invitation to experience the authentic Japanese art of hospitality, in which every element works in harmony and perfect balance. The garden is cleverly designed to self-irrigate through the collection of rainwater via the site’s numerous caves and water tunnels, while the Aman Spa features traditional onsen bathing facilities are filled with water from a local spring. In the restaurant, Chef Kentaro serves authentic Kyoto-style cuisine, home-cooked with seasonal ingredients sources from the resort’s very own garden.
Aman Kyoto has been thoughtfully designed to offer guests a fully immersive cultural experience for the mind, body and spirit. Recognised by many as Japan’s cultural capital, a visit to this mesmerising city is a must on any journey through the country. Now, Aman Kyoto allows guests an authentic yet contemporary architect-designed sanctuary, sensitive to the roots of its historic setting and pristine natural surroundings.
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