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Short Stays: 10 Tiny Hotels

By Dwell @dwell
Size doesn’t always matter when it comes to these diminutive but design-savvy hotel rooms. Slideshow A bank of rooms in a capsule hotel in Kyoto

9Hours (Kyoto, Japan)

Fumie Shibata of Design Studio S created this minimal, sci-fi crash pad in Kyoto, named after the average length of a business traveler’s stay (one hour shower, seven hours sleep, one hour rest). The subtle but memorable branding system, which carries through from toothbrush containers to wayfinding systems, is as tech-oriented and soothing as the beds themselves, outfitted with computerized lighting and high-end sheets.

Photo by Underutilized (Creative Commons)

A uniquely Japanese innovation that many see as a series of glorified cubby holes for traveling businessman, the capsule hotel may come off as another example of kitsch, with room barely large enough to stretch out and sleep. But the originator of these modular structures, noted Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, saw the future playing out in small, flexible dwellings designed for a more nomadic lifestyle. When the first capsule hotel was built in Osaka in 1979, following on the heels of a 1972 capsule apartment building, it exemplified Kurokawa’s Metabolist philosophy and focus on sustainability and impermanence. With a small footprint and interchangeable structures, it stood as a precursor to today’s green, small-scale urban housing schemes. While Kurokawa’s vision of a more modular city never came to pass, his influence has played out in this series of similarly small-scale hotels, sized for convenience and adaptability and now more functional than futuristic.


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