Japan 2021Kai Beppu
In the southern island of Kyushu Japan lies the coastal town of Beppu, well known for being one of the preeminent “Onsen-Gai”, which translates to “Hot spring Boulevard”. We studied the variety of activities that occur when meandering the streets of an Onsen-gai, transitioning from street scale to human scale, indoor to outdoor; and recreated within the Kai Beppu ryokan-inn a collage of similar sensations and experiences.
To create a seamless transition to the surrounding Onsen-gai, a series of deep hip-gabled eaves run along the perimeter of the low-height existing buildings. The upper floors use a crushed scallop shell mixed stucco for the façade, to resonate with the materiality of the surrounding site which is close the ocean.
Connection to the locality was essential for our material palette. Bamboo work, handmade washi, local pottery techniques (usukiyaki), and Bungo style tie-dying are some of the techniques we introduced with the help of local craftsman to give a strong sense of place for the interiors. By showcasing local craftsmanship in the manner of a museum, Kai Beppu Inn pays a homage to Folk Art.