Karuizawa Project

A concept design for a Chapel/ Restaurant/ Boutique Hotel
2008-2009, Karuizawa, Japan


Concept Designer and main Liaison/ Interpreter for a Japanese ‘chapel-chain’ client (In Japan there is a trend for ‘fantasy wedding chapels’ where clients are promised a dreamy wedding setting in any style, without having to set foot out of the country) and French restaurant consultant (renowned French chef Dominique Bouchet) at GKK Architects and Engineers.


Set in the luxurious ‘holiday home’ and ‘resort hotel’ area of the lush Karuizawa countryside, beside the dormant but majestic Mt Asama, the programme brief consisted of a chapel and a restaurant/ boutique hotel to be situated on a site separated by an irrigation water-way used by the local farmers. The intention was to maximise views of the water-way as well as that of Mt Asama, while embracing the four seasons, especially winter, where potential clients could hope for a ‘White Wedding’. There were also plans to have personalised hot-spring baths in the individual hotel suites for wedding guests to de-stress after the strain and excitement of the event.

The concept design phase for the Karuizawa Project spanned over a year, (between Tokyo and Paris) and was unfortunately brought to a halt due to the economic downtown in 2010. This included extensive research into the running of resort hotels, design of boutique hotels as well as the immaculate detailing and organisation flow of a proficient restaurant which had to fulfill the dual function of serving a wedding banquet as well as walk-in guests, simultaneously.