Have you heard?
Demolition has started on an architectural and design landmark in the heart of Tokyo, despite luxury brand Bottega Veneta’s campaign to keep it intact.
The Hotel Okura was built in the 1960s to host dignitaries, heads of state, celebrities and royalty. And it’s stunning.
Deemed a Modernist structure on par with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon Guggenheim museum in New York, the Okura is a throwback to a bygone era when you dressed for dinner and every surface — from the floor under your feet to the ceiling overhead to the fine china that displayed your artfully plated main course — made your eye want to linger, following the intricacy of each geometric pattern until you found yourself completely lost in the moment — and your Vodka Gimlet.
Bottega Veneta’s chief designer Thomas Maier felt so strongly about preserving the Okura that he started a campaign to stop the demolition. To no avail. Teardown has already started in anticipation of the construction of a new 550-room high rise hotel scheduled to be ready for the crowd influx that will accompany the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Architecture and luxury-brand aficionados may take solace in knowing the new building will be designed by the son of the original architect. (Father is Yoshiro Taniguchi, son is Yoshio).
Even now, as part of a landmark is reduced to dust, Bottega’s entire film campaign is worth watching, if just to understand the impact of this building’s literal and historic footprints.
But we especially loved this video from Monocle because it explains the design value, the attention to detail, craftsmanship and the high level service this building came to be known for.