Wood In Architecture Issue 2, 2020

THE BIG PICTURE 21 WOOD IN ARCHITECTURE • ISSUE 2 • 2020 K anazawa is an old castle town on the Sea of Japan, famous for its tea-house districts and traditional crafts. Within this unique context, Japanese Designer Yusuke Seki proposed a hotel that introduces the local community and its history. Named after its concept, KUMU, which is a Japanese verb with many nuances depending on the context, the word can mean “to join” ( ಢᤷ ), “to draw out” ( أ ᤷ ), or “to pour” ( ପᤷ ). In a larger sense, “kumu” relates to the links between people and places (joining), empathy (drawing out and reading another’s feelings), and the spirit of hospitality (pouring someone a drink). This concept leads to a hotel that is inclusive and engaged with its context. Housed in a renovated office building, the hotel includes options ranging from dormitories to suites to accommodate the diverse needs of travellers today. In dialogue with Kanazawa’s tea houses, a tea salon on the ground floor “joins” the hotel to the community and entices guests to explore other places in the city. “Kumu” also appears in other places. Traditional Japanese joinery was used for the timber grid in the lobby, which also serves to support modular wall panels for subdividing the space. The custom- designed furniture joins different textures and materials, while the screens in the guest rooms feature grid-like detailing. Drawingonthelocalcontext,pouringguests a cup of tea, joining people to a place and to one another: is what KUMU is all about. Yusuke Seki’s goal with KUMU was to create a place that nurtures a connection between an increasingly diverse group of visitors and the historic local city. Creating a feeling of “luxury” was important – a luxury that comes from having the entire city and its culture at the travellers’ fingertips. In this equation, the ideal hotel is no longer measured by the amenities it offers, but rather by how it provides the flexibility for visitors to combine their interests and needs to create their own experiences. The project aims to create a space of encounter: a seasonal place that is open to the city in the summer, provides warmth in the winter, and is frequented by locals and visitors alike to mingle, forge relationships, and think about the future of the community. “Our goal was not to just create another place to sleep, but rather to think earnestly about how strategies for facilitating visitors’ experiences and engagement with the city can be combined with arresting designs,” said Yusuke Seki. Drawing on the local context, pouring guests a cup of tea, joining people to a place and to one another: is what KUMU is all about Design: Yusuke Seki Client: ReBITA Inc. Photography: Takumi Ota Location: Kanazawa, Japan Building use: Hotel (Total 47 Rooms. Site area: 499.95m 2 ) KUMU is a Japanese verb with many nuances; depending on the context, the word can mean “to join”, “to draw out”, or “to pour” Traditional Japanese joinery was used for the timber grid in the lobby, which also serves to support modular wall panels for subdividing the space A KUMU CONCEPT

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