Translated as “forest bathing”, the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku celebrates the appreciation of nature, through a leisurely walk and other activities in the woods. It involves an immersive and restorative process communing with nature; a calming experience that seems right at home at the Shishi-Iwa House, a boutique hotel in Karuizawa, Japan.
Designed by Shigeru Ban Architects and developed by HDHP GK, the property comprises 10 guest rooms, each designed as meditative retreats; rooms on the ground floor are connected to a private garden, while rooms on the upper floor feature balcony terraces.
To minimise the impact on the environment, the property has been built around the existing trees; the result is a unique curved exterior that’s at one with nature. Comprising timber and plywood panels, the pre-fabricated structure was transported in sections to be assembled on site. It also integrates elements of Shigeru Ban’s renowned use of paper tubes in its furnishings, while emphasising the soothing views of its surroundings.
For this project, I was interested in developing a distinct design language befitting its beautiful location,
says Shigeru Ban, who designed both the exterior architecture and interior of this project. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect weighs in on its design: