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Stay Like An Art Collector

Japanese minimalism in TRUNK(HOUSE) a former geisha house turned Airbnb in Kagurazaka Tokyo

Whether it’s sakura in spring, fireworks in fall, or the up-coming Summer Olympics, Tokyo is a perennial tourist hub. But where to stay? A special niche in the alleyways of Kagurazaka might be your refuge.

If you haven’t heard of TRUNK(HOTEL), now is the perfect time to get familiar. Led by owner Yoshitaka Nojiri, the TRUNK company aims to provide a new generation of design hotels that are not based on Instagram-able shock-value, but instead to make sure guests can immerse themselves in the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Tokyo and socialise to the fullest.

It’s first property TRUNK(HOTEL), located in the trendy Harajuku/Jingumae district in Tokyo, was designed with a pervasive modern design (by the acclaimed Mount Fuji Architects and Jamo Associates) and with specially made-in-Japan products that can be purchased then and there.

Two years on, TRUNK(HOUSE) rises in a former geisha house within Tokyo’s Kagurazaka neighbourhood. As the name suggests, this property is not a hotel per se, but a one-bedroom property that can offer up to four overnight guests (or up to 30 for cocktail-parties).

But very much like TRUNK(HOTEL), the house is filled with an array of newly-commissioned artworks by seven locally and internationally-based artists. Simply put, it’s an AIRBNB for the art collector. “For seasoned travellers, creatives, and those who appreciate culture and luxury,” said Mr Nojiri.

“In Japan, there aren’t many options for such customers other than luxury hotel chains. No matter their age or nationality, we would like to offer exclusive and enriching Tokyo experiences throughout their stay.” And so, TRUNK(HOUSE) was created to not just be another place to sleep, but 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.

From painting, sculpture, crafts, to paper cut-out art, all featured artists in TRUNK(HOUSE) were chosen for their cultural influences and ties to Tokyo and Japan. For example: Mt. Fuji stained glass work by Heavogon Studio, situated at the entrance, was heavily inspired by Japanese iconography; while Masumi Ishikawa’s Scenic Tour of Tokyo: Then and Now –located in the traditional public bath-inspired bathroom – referenced ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese art that flourished from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

American artists like Tom Sachs also pay homage to the revered art of Japanese tea ceremonies with Ryakubon2.0, while Alex Dodge’s Hide and Seek hangs above the bed, depicting a colourful yet pared-down version of a ryotei (a type of luxurious Japanese restaurant) on Kakurenbo Yokocho (Hide-and-Seek Alley), which is just a few steps from the property.

The uniqueness of TRUNK(HOUSE) is second to none – in fact, this will be a one-off property under the TRUNK umbrella. As Mr Nojiri explains, “We want all our properties, existing and forthcoming, to be individual in their offering. We have many other concepts with which we’d like to explore and showcase the character of Tokyo and its neighbourhoods.” And with a total of ten hotels planned within Tokyo by 2027, you’ll be sure to see more of these new-kids-on-the-block in the future.

TRUNK(HOUSE)
trunk-house.com/en/

Photography by Tomooki Kengaku

Dissection Information
B.L.C.D Vase by SEESEE
Bullet flat shade from NEW LIGHT POTTERY
Shamisen / Pot by Keiko Masumoto
Dancer’s fan / Hanging Flower Vase by Keiko Masumoto
Tables, Chairs by Stephen Kenn
Cesta by Miguel Mira
Nelson Cigar Lotus Floor Lamp by George Nelson
Lampadaire 3 Lumieres by Jacques Adnet
‘Hide and Seek’ by Alex Dodge
‘Ryakubon2.0’ by Tom Sachs
‘Scenic Tour of Tokyo : Then and Now’ by ‘Masumi Ishikawa
‘Mt. Fuji’ by Heavogon Studio
‘TOKYO COMPLEX by  KagurazakaUsing’ by Chiaki Hirano

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