In 2012 the Park Hotel Tokyo announced it was to hand over the walls of every room on its 31st floor to a different artist who would be free to decorate it however they liked – as long as they adhered to the theme of 'Japanese beauty'. Over 100 painters applied, of which 31 where selected to let their imaginations run riot on the hotel’s walls. Four years later the results are striking – behind the uniform doors lie inked sumo wrestlers, striking cherry blossoms and a technicolour ode to Yokai. Time Out takes a private tour.
Sumo by Hiroyuki Kimura
The room that started it all, Kimura’s sumo-themed suite is spectacular. Completed in December 2012, the room’s monochrome ink scheme is rustically charming. Having never painted a room before, Kimura was learning as he went, but the ink runs add to the dynamic movement of his subjects. Cheekily he added his name to the list of sumo greats that adorn the wall – after undertaking such a heavyweight task and emerging victorious he deserves it.
Castle by Kazuki Mizuguchi
Some rooms are completed in a matter of weeks, others take a bit longer. Kazuki Mizuguchi worked on his room regularly for over a year before finishing it. Artists get to stay in the room while they are working on it, but a year of great breakfasts and crisp sheets is not the reason behind Mizuguchi’s 454-day work of art – his intricate lines and richly layered colours take time to perfect. As you can see, the results are well worth the wait.
Cherry Blossom by Hiroko Otake
Time Out’s personal favourite, Otake’s sumptuous work is a calming mix of pinks, blues and golds. The room also boasts stunning views out over Tokyo Tower.
Yokai by Nobuo Magome
Nobuo Magome’s cheerful homage to the mischievous characters of Japanese folklore is like an analogue precursor to Pokemon Go. Can you spot all the cute critters hidden in the room? You’ll find them pulling at electric sockets and peering out of windows. The trippy vortex roof is not for the faint of heart, but is wonderfully evocative.
Wabi-Sabi by Conami Hara
So far 23 of the 31 rooms on the artists’ floor have been completed, with the remainder scheduled to be decorated by the end of 2016. The next room to be completed is due to be Conami Hara’s capturing of Wabi-Sabi. Every indication is that it will be another masterpiece.
Festival by Nanami Ishihara
A stay in one of Park Hotel’s artist rooms, such as Nanami Ishihara's kaleidoscopic Festival, will set you back between ¥35,000-¥50,000. More information on the project is available here. Reservations can also be made by calling 03 6252 1100.
Words by Marcus Webb
Photos by Keisuke Tanigawa