In Kyoto, Japan’s spiritual city teeming with traditional architecture, the Japanese architect Uoya Shigenori was tasked to redesign the interior of the ‘Maana Kamo Guesthouse’, to be a minimal space as part of a series of luxury retreats tucked away in one of the city’s old streets.
The aim of the project was to preserve the townhouse’s original structure while providing a moody and calm space for rest and contemplation. “Preserving and highlighting the house’s imperfectly aged beauty is the backbone of our design philosophy,” a statement from Maana Homes reads. “The beauty and soul of a traditional Japanese townhome is in its structural elements.” The renovation has implemented new timber walls and floors with restrained furnishings and dark, subdued lighting, following the traditional principle of Japanese architecture as an expression of light and dark. Just a handful of Japanese design pieces adorn the space, including tatami mats, vases, and paper-covered lampshades and sliding screen doors. A notable design choice is the oversized Japanese-style bathtub positioned next to the sitting-living room. Through glass walls, it has a view to the private garden and evokes the tranquil experience of bathing in an onsen: a traditional Japanese bath.