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Hotel Okura

LEGEND HAS IT. THE HOTEL OKURA. THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF MODERN DESIGN. THE MOST AMAZING MAN-BUILT PLACE ON EARTH AND AS CLOSE TO NATURE
AS A VERY BIG BUILDING IN
A VERY BIG CITY EVER
CAME. CAPTURED FOREVER IN THIS BOOK. THIS
SUPERBOOK. 


It always was the most brilliant book. The title tells you that. The Indigenous Patterns and Hotel Okura . The modernist hotel with its roots and inspiration so perfectly set in traditional Japanese culture was built in 1962 and has stood as a functioning masterpiece ever since. It is now, finally and quite sadly, undergoing renovation. Which makes this book. Really makes this book. More remarkable.
 

The new and the old. On the right a screen depicting Ohgi (the fan) Nagashi - an important art treasure. On the left the sliding screens of the Orchid Bar. They are made of irregularly woven wisteria vines that, as the text states, 'soften the natural light coming into the bar.'

 

On the left: the cover design of the Emerald Room menu and the national treasures that inspired it. On the right the outer wall design of the main entrance; Hishi-mon (the diamond pattern). 
 

As may already by apparent, The Indigenous Patterns and Hotel Okura is very likely the single most important pattern design book of the twentieth century. At least, allowing for Andrea Branzi's Decorattivo (which we had previously written about here), it is the joint single most important book!
 

We only have one copy. They have become so scarce. And now the place it documents is disappearing too. Aaargh! The speed of life. Hit the button below to try and buy. Apologies if it is gone - we will start to build a waiting list - we will look for more next week. IDEA is in Tokyo at the Okura!
 

AND IF THE INDIGENOUS PATTERNS IS RARE THEN THIS IS OFF THE SCALE OF ONE TO ZEN! THE ORIGINAL PROSPECTUS FOR THE HOTEL OKURA. THIS IS THE KIND OF TREASURE BOOK YOU FIND ONLY ONE DAY IN A DECADE AT THE TOP OF MOUNT FUJI. 


Very special. Indeed. It is the prospectus. 36 pages of detailed drawings, photographs of the construction and, looseleaf in the back, the architectural plans. And that most wonderful cover. 
 

What it would become. The ambitious interiors in illustration. The only photographs are of construction and...
 

The control room! This is our favourite picture of course. Waiting for the phone to ring. See more of this and the Indigenous Patterns book on this serene hyperlink.  
 

May, 1962. Not the date of publication but the date the hotel would open. And did open. Ready for the Tokyo Olympic Games held in October. The rest is history and this is a history book. 
 
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