Capsule Hotel in Kyoto
Erected on a six-metre-wide city-centre site, this capsule hotel sets new standards for what is a typically Japanese form of accommodation. The name, “9h Hotel”, indicates the recommended duration of stay, namely nine hours: seven for sleep and an hour each for showering and grooming. The 1.20 ≈ 2.34 m plastic sleeping capsules are no larger than standard cells of this kind, but here the design is both functional and aesthetic. Colour is used as a means of spatial differentiation – from the gleaming white entrance and lounge to the grey tones of the toilets and the black corridors in the sleeping areas. As a place of repose, the building is introverted: apart from the glazed entrance, there are no windows.
The 9-Hour Hotel was created in close collaboration with an industrial designer, a graphic designer and an interior designer. Simple, clear pictographs indicate the route through the building. At the same time, they are in the nature of instructions for use: the guest checks in, stows his or her shoes and luggage in the lockers in the reception area and takes the lift – first of all to the floors with washing facilities. Clothing is left there in another locker, and the guest is issued with a set, comprising pyjamas, slippers, a bottle of water and a toothbrush. These, like the towels and soap dispensers, are marked with the hotel logo.
Male and female accommodation are on separate floors. The rows of sleeping capsules are set on a steel supporting structure and have a special internal design. The surface, with a polished gel coating, shimmers silkily. Let in flush at the head of each capsule is an elegantly minimalist black control panel for the lighting and alarm clock, and integrated in the ceiling is a dimmable LED. There is also a pigeonhole on each side for depositing smaller objects. The capsules have no doors. and although polyester-mesh blinds prevent overlooking, they do not screen off noise. All the more important, then, are the mattresses and pillows, which are ergonomically designed with different materials. In this dormitory, the guest lies as if in a cocoon, enjoying a certain privacy in a specially Japanese manner.