BnA Studio Akihabara — Tokyo, Japan
A sweeping dragon mural, interior metal scaffolding and skateboards transformed into tables may not sound like typical hotel décor – unless you happen to have crossed the threshold of BnA Studio Akihabara, a new artist-designed hotel located on a quiet lane in eastern Tokyo.
Housed in a neat grey corner building, the property has a ground floor co-working space, along with five ‘concept art’ guestrooms that have each been created by a Japanese artist. There is sunlight-flooded Athletic Park by Studiobowl’s interior artist Ryohei Murakami – with its rainbow pops of colour, metal scaffolding and a yellow staircase leading to a hovering bed platform.
Upstairs is Responder by 81 Bastards (whose members include six painters, a tattoo artist, a photographer, a videographer and a DJ), with a hyper-detailed mural fluidly spanning walls and ceiling. While just next door, the black-walled Hailer, by the same collective, showcases a subtly subversive modern take on traditional Japanese décor.
The Zen Garden suite – by 51.3 G-Wave – is on the top floor, complete with a violet fluoro light depicting the Japanese kanji symbol for ‘zen’, a metal fence cutting the space in two and a small Japanese rock garden. The rooms may be experimental showcases of contemporary art but they are rooted in comfort: each has its own spacious bathroom, a small kitchen and a washer-dryer machine.
This property is the latest – and the biggest – in a string of projects masterminded by BnA (short for bed and art) since it launched in 2015 with the opening of a popular Air BnB ‘art room’ in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district.
Since then, the group has unveiled a machiya art house in Kyoto and the two-room BnA Hotel Koenji in Tokyo. Meanwhile, plans are underway for larger-scale hotels in both cities.