Tokyo doesn’t have as many boutique hotels as you might expect, but the ones it does have are exquisitely crafted and absolutely unique. K5, for example, takes a 1920s-vintage bank building in Nihonbashi Kabutochō — essentially Tokyo’s Wall Street — and, with the help of the Stockholm-based architecture firm Claesson Koivisto Rune, transforms it into a living tribute to contemporary Swedish design, and in the process illuminates some of the affinities between Swedish and Japanese aesthetics.
Rooms feature live plants and plenty of warm, organic textures, alongside some shapely and colorful modern furniture and, instead of a TV, a record player and access to a vinyl library. The studios and rooms are compact, but not particularly small by local standards, and the suites and lofts are spacious, adding sitting areas and freestanding bathtubs. Just about every object in K5’s interiors was either custom-designed by the Swedish architects, hand-crafted by Japanese makers, or both.
Meanwhile the public spaces express the Japanese concept of “aimai,” or ambiguity, with no clearly defined borders between the lounge, the café, the wine bar, or the restaurant. It might sound pretentious to describe a hotel as a work of art — after all, it’s simply a lodging, first and foremost — but whatever you want to call it, K5 is the real deal.