“LLove, the exhibition where you can stay for the night.”
The Llove hotel and cafe in Daikanyama, Tokyo is part art installation, part hotel, and features the design work of over fifty Japanese and Dutch designers. Throughout the hotel evidence of the blending of Dutch and Japanese aesthetics is evident and the project itself is meant as a celebration of 400 years of trade and cultural relations between Japan and the Netherlands.
The hotel opened on October 22nd to coincide with Tokyo Designers Week. Llove was dreamed up and curated by the director of the Lloyd hotel and Cultural Embassy in Amsterdam, Suzanne Oxenaar after being inspired by the more infamous love hotels in Japan where pretty much any fantasy you can imagine can be indulged in for a night. Sex and fantasy are flirted with at the Llove hotel but with an artistic sensibility that explores what it means to be “Still in Llove”. Guests can book one of the fourteen themed rooms but only until November 23rd, so time is quickly running out on this fantastic exhibition of love, art and design.
The lobby of the Llove mimics other themed hotels in the region where pictures display each of the rooms allowing you to pick the one that best suits your mood or desires. The pink Plexiglas and surveillance screens give a slight edge while still maintaining the playfulness of the rest of the hotel.
Room 307, designed by Richard Hutton feels like a mash-up between Bladerunner and the Princess and the Pea. The room is named “Llayers”. What’s not visible in this photo are the exterior areas of this room which are painted the colour of flesh. Stepping into the sleeping area is like entering the inner layers of the epidermis. The strips of message-laden tape covering the walls and a stack of mattresses is also supposed to convey a sense of multiplicity and layering.
Three unassuming wooden steps bring the guest up to an oasis complete with trees and countless stones. This stunning room is called “BURIED” and is the design work of Yuko Nagayama where the boundaries between the outdoors and indoors are endlessly blurred. Nagayama wants her room to be an environment you immerse yourself in, she says, “The space does not adapt itself to you, but you adapt to it. The space awakens a latent natural instinct that everybody appears to carry within but is normally not activated.” One imagines that staying here would be akin to spending the night in a Zen garden.
The rotating bed is obviously the showpiece of this room by Jo Nagasaka named simply “ROTATING BED.” A more modern rotating bed than the one’s that no doubt grace the Playboy mansion, this one has exposed gears and was inspired by the Edo period of Japan. I love the way the bed is sunk into the floor giving the illusion that you are descending into the workings of a machine.
The most romantic of the fourteen, room 308 designed by Pieke Bergmans, is simply called “in Llove”. The cascading bed and kissing lamps and light fixtures really epitomize the spirit of this wonderful exhibit, a place where intimacy is nurtured and the evidence of love is everywhere.
The Llove hotel is only open for another few days, so unless you are in Tokyo and lucky enough to snag a reservation, the exhibit will be gone before most of us will get a chance to see it in person. It’s too bad – I would have loved to spend a night in one of these incredible rooms.
All photos by Takumi Ota