On the Radar: BnA STUDIO Akihabara
In a sea of slick Japanese minimalism, BnA STUDIO Akihabara’s uber-futuristic aesthetic is at once perfectly at home in, and at totally odds with Tokyo’s design hotel scene.
Despite its reputation for innovation across technology, modern arts and beyond, Japan is a renowned conservative, especially when it comes to its ubiquitous sleek-but-spartan style. Rather a surprise then that the uber-futuristic BnA STUDIO Akihabara represents one of the most aesthetically and commercially interesting hotels anywhere in the world.
Don't be fooled by the unassuming, black box facade – this five-room pied-à-terre is boundary pushing in every way. Local artist collectives Studiobowl, 81 Bastards and 51.3 G-Wave designed the hyper-conceptual, evocative spaces, with each group earning a cut of the revenue via BnA's culture-bolstering profit-share system.
Expect layered scaffolding, floating sleeping platforms, and candy-hued pops of colour in the Athletic Park suite; a gold chain-link metal partition, glowing neon signage and a traditional low-set dining area in the Zen Garden; and a 360-degree graffiti mural in the Responder room. All of the self-contained quarters feature a washer and dryer, kitchenette and HD Netflix – truly straddling the realms of modern convenience and other-worldly dreamscape. Pinch yourself, then book it.
6-3-3 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku. +81 3 5846 8876. bna-akihabara.com
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Besides a communal workspace on the ground floor, BnA STUDIO Akihabara is light on out-of-room experiences, so here are a few LUXE-approved stops nearby to keep you fed, watered and entertained...
Five Floors of rain showers, massages, scrubs, steam areas, outdoor onsen, and roller-coaster park views, all perf-posi’d in the city centre. The add-on services are pretty basic, but blessedly a modesty towel and comfy yukata for strolling around common areas comes included. laqua.jp
Humble simplicity trumps showy pretense at this quietly elegant blond-wood beauty run by spotlight eschewing Hideki Ishikawa. Whether you opt to dine privately or at one of the seven counter seats, expect a kaiseki education via seasonal dishes like tempura horsehead snapper, spear squid and tofu soup, or a perfectly balanced hotpot. Even the humble side of rice is elevated to new heights. kagurazaka-ishikawa.co.jp
Sorry royal spotters, you can’t simply sashay into the Emperor’s abode (unless it’s 2 Jan or 23 Dec when the inner grounds are open to a colossal throng of commoners). But you can always have a gander around the picturesque east gardens, across the west bridges, and through the cherry blossom beauty Chidori-ga-Fuchi. Or float your boat in the moat.
1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku.
Images courtesy of Tomooki Kengaku and BnA Studio.
For more fab sleep, eat n’ drink spots, nab yourself a copy of the LUXE Tokyo guide...
She's got ten years in Hong Kong and a two-year London stint under her belt, but Jane prefers life on the go, be it whooshing down the ski slopes of Japan, road-tripping along California’s PCH, haggling with Grand Bazaar vendors in Istanbul, or sailing Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.
- Jane LOVES... Food, flowers, a stiff drink, a good book
- Jane LOATHES... Pollution, global chainstore-itis, bad service
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