KOÉ HOTEL – The Japanese answer to Western hotel concepts

by Youri Sawerschel , 18 July 2018

Combining fashion, food, art, music and hospitality, Koé Hotel is a new hotel brand that has raised the bar in the Tokyo hotel scene. We love their hybrid lobby concept and their extensive merchandising line.

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New Basic for New Culture

Koé Hotel was opened in February 2018 in the busy Shibuya district in Tokyo, by Stripe International. A fashion retailer with a vast portfolio of distinctly modern apparel and lifestyle brands to their name, Stripe is Japanese led but very international in its outlook and driven by collaboration between brands, creatives and industries. And so, it is no surprise that with Koé Hotel they have brought together a diverse creative team of designers, architects, chefs and retailers, and that in doing so they have created something far beyond a hotel.

They have delivered a truly hybrid hotel concept, combining fashion, food, art, music and hospitality to create a cultural hub. One with a modern, global perspective, encapsulated by their tagline: ‘New Basic for New Culture’ – an ethos which permeates across all aspects of their brand.

For example, their fashion and lifestyle label, ‘Koé’, is stylish and modern, yet affordable. The items are often created in collaboration with artists and other brands to keep the feel fresh and non-corporate, and the style unique. While they have a full line on their online shop, the entire second floor of Koé Hotel, also, is dedicated purely to this fashion and lifestyle merchandising arm of the brand.

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Bringing Together

Below, on the ground floor, is ‘Koé Lobby’, a ‘bakery-restaurant’ which serves food and beverages from breakfast till dinner and becomes a packed bar at night. Particularly during the regular gigs and DJ performances that are put on to attract swathes of millenials who gather to sit and watch on a wide wooden staircase connecting the two floors. It connects both literally and symbolically, bringing everyone and everything together – people, fashion, F&B, music, art; culture.

It is this savvy use of hotel zoning and a shared aesthetic between the floors – high ceilings, floods of natural light and minimalist, industrial design – that really brings the two spaces together to feel like one. It creates a seamless integration between retail, the food outlet and the hotel.

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A Blueprint for Integration

Finally, on the third floor is the hotel itself. Immediately, it is less bright; the ceilings are lower, the walls a charcoal matt-grey and the rooms are inspired by traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony Rooms. Everything is sleeker, calmer, more muted and more discreet (after all, this is a place for sleeping). Yet, still the materials and the lines are distinctively modern. Distinctively new. And, while much contrasts with the open, communal downstairs, the two always feel very much part of the same organism. And the contemporary art hanging on the walls, curated by Shun Kawakami, is a constant reminder that Koé Hotel is about ‘new culture’ above all.

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The hotel level is accessed via a discrete elevator at the back of the ground floor. This is a hotel blueprint that breaks with convention, with the typical large, separate hotel lobby. Instead, by placing the lobby amidst the food and retail, it reinforced the integration between the three floors. Between the separate arms of the business. Bringing it all together in balanced symbiosis and total integration

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A potential flagship of Japanese Now

It is the success of this integration, this creation of something that feels so new, that makes such a success of Hotel Koé. It has a global feel to it and we would love to see it make its way into the western world. With some intelligent branding it definitely has the potential to position itself as a flagship of Japanese now. If done right, it has all the elements to become a real Japanese answer to the Western hotel brands.

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Picture credit: © Kenta Hasegawa for Hotel Koé Tokyo
Video credit: © Official Youtube Channel Hotel Koé Tokyo