On the afternoon of April 11, 2018, ”Hotel Elite” magazine visited Mr. Hashimoto Yukio in Tokyo. His studio is located in a small building in a quiet alley in Jingumae, Shibuyaku. In the small meeting room in the attic with a projector, more than a dozen people from the magazine sat around the table and listened to the dialogue between publisher Wang Yi and Mr. Hashimoto Yukio.
Hashimoto Yukio was born in Aichi Prefecture, Japan in 1962. After graduating from Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts in 1986, he joined Super Potato Co., Ltd., and became a freelance designer in 1996, and established Hashimoto Yukio Design Studio the following year. From hotels, restaurants, homes to offices, shops, shopping malls, his design covers almost every aspect of life. He has completed more than 400 projects, and is good at drawing design elements from traditional Japanese culture. He creates a space atmosphere that is beyond the mere material and enjoys a reputation as a master of Japanese interior design.
The Peninsula Tokyo, completed in September 2007, is a masterpiece of the hotel interior design by Hashimoto Yukio. It advocates cultural uniqueness and preference for natural materials, and is unique in the popular trend at that time. In this interview, Hashimoto Yukio introduced the Conrad Osaka, which is the latest work of his interior design completed in July 2017. The design took three and a half years, and Conrad is the most highend brand of the Hilton Hotels Group.
Traditional culture should be a full source of inspiration for designers. Hashimoto Yukio highly respects the narrow Zen space of the tea room, the dry shanshui landscape of Long‘an Temple and the traditional woodwork preserved by the Ise Jingu Palace. The design of the Conrad Osaka is inspired by traditional Japanese culture. The hotel is located in the noisy center of Osaka, and the sky lobby is set on a 40story sky with a lift directly connected to the first floor. The most attractive addition to the spectacular window view is the two 5meterhigh giant sculptures, one for the god of the wind and one for the god of the thunder. The positions of the two white sculptures show the movement of a sudden moment, and people can‘t help but think of a heavenly world created by the two gods, and are thus completely removed from the hustles and bustles downstairs.
The usual lobby front desk practice is a conjoined counter, but the front desk of the Conrad Osaka is cut into several separate small counters, which helps to show respect when receiving guests. The 40story Sky Lounge is decorated with a row of filmmade curtains that reflect the colorful lighting effects. Due to the lightness, the film will sway slightly with the airconditioning wind, giving the reflected light a subtle movement to better blend with the view from the floortoceiling windows. Hashimoto Yukio does not pursue highlevel material, but the ones with the most suitable effect and best use. His only preference is the love of natural materials, because nature has its own localness, uniqueness and will never be outdated. The background wall of the reception hall of the Conrad Osaka Spa is decorated with small pebbled stones, and the stylish fabric sofa mixes the wooden coffee table to present a natural texture.
The furniture in the reception hall of the spa is suspended from the ceiling in the air, creating a visual contrast and freshness. A similar visual trick can also be seen in the ceiling of the banquet hall, which is actually a flat surface, but the spherical visual effect is exhibited by the change in the size of the square and the curvature of the line. It is worth noting that, in the view of Hashimoto Yukio, the clever side of the design will not only solve the problem, but also make the guests feel happy because of its freshness, yet each area can only highlight one point and not too much. The overall design is based on creating comfort and privacy.
The rooms at the Conrad Osaka are calmly coloured and contrast with the window view. Hashimoto Yukio favors the nonopen room type, which gives the hotel rooms a homelike privacy. Pushing the door of the ensuite bathroom, the round bathtub in front of it is made of Japanese fir wood. Red paint, resistant of 800degree temperature, is applied by Japanese traditional lacquer technique. It looks like a red soup bowl. The lacquer ware was used by the royal family and the nobility in ancient times. The bathtub was made into a lacquer ware, which presented a classiness of traditional features.
Hashimoto Yukio is not only a diligent and prolific interior design master, but also an external lecturer at Showa Women‘s University and Aichi Prefectural University of the Arts. He shares with his students the exploration of his lifelong design, ”Hotel Elite” will continue to pay attention to Hashimoto Yukio‘s new hotel works in the future.