Within a previously abandoned 120-year-old kominka farmhouse, Rakudo-An is a luxury art hotel nestled amid an idyllic rural village in Toyama, Japan.
Restored by design agency 51% Gowari Ichibu as part of a local regeneration program, the exclusive three-room inn surrounded by rice paddies seeks to preserve the local architecture, celebrate Japan’s agrarian and cultural roots, and purify the mind and body of guests through minimalist design.
Infusing the space with the village’s diverse scenery, craftsmanship and cuisine, alongside contemporary art and mid-century modern furniture by prominent international figures, the team immerses guests in the spirit and virtue of Toyama. The interiors feature a harmonious blend of modern and traditional natural elements including clay, wood, bamboo, Japanese washi paper, and silk, creating a tranquil retreat amid nature.
Rakudo-An sits amid the Tonami Plain’s scenic rural landscape, which in recent times has seen a declining demand for rice and a shortage of farmers in the area, leading to abandoned farmland and Azumadachi farmhouses. As part of a wider regenerative tourism scheme instigated by Toyama West Tourism Promotion Association, 51% Gowari Ichibu’s projects aims to support local farmers, artists, and makers, to preserve the village and its local culture.
The hotel’s Italian cuisine restaurant, Il Cima, uses only ingredients caught by local fishermen and farmed in the local mountains to craft seasonal dishes unique to the region. A small boutique in the hotel also sells mingei crafts and Toyama food all produced by local makers. Further, the hotel donates 2% from all accommodation fees to a fund dedicated to village conservation activities.
For each of the hotel’s three thematic rooms, Toyama-based 51% Gowari Ichibu worked with a different local artist to design distinct, minimalist spaces with expansive views of the engulfing natural landscape. Overlooking Mt. Ushidake, the intimate ‘Paper’ room is defined by the gentle textures of Japanese paper, incorporating hand-made paper by Wataru Hatano across the walls and ceiling.
Meanwhile the ‘Soil’ room, with earthen walls created by Yuko Hayashi from clay collected on the farmhouse grounds, frames scenic views across the paddy fields. Finally, the luminous ‘Silk’ room engulfs visitors in a cocoon-like atmosphere, with silk walls and ceilings made by two local silkworms.
Rakudo-An’s interior features traditional natural elements to create a harmonious setting for the hotel’s curated collection of designer, mid-century modern furniture, mingei folk crafts, antiques, and contemporary art chosen by project producer Sari Hiyashiguchi of Mizu to Takumi – Toyama West Tourism Promotion Association.
Alongside supporting local craftspeople, Mizu to Takumi and 51% Gowari Ichibu integrates the work of prominent Japanese designers Shoji Hamada, Keisuke Serizawa, and Isamu Noguchi, and elements from international designers including lighting by Jasper Morrison and Poul Henningsen, and furniture by Hans J. Wegner and Pierre Jeanneret.
Images by Nik van der Giesen & 51% Gowari Ichibu via designboom
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