NIKKEN SPACE DESIGN LTD / Satoshi Ohashi, Yoshihiro Yamamoto - The Chapel Of Tokyo Kaikan, an important place with special feelings
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The Chapel Of Tokyo Kaikan, an important place with special feelings

NIKKEN SPACE DESIGN LTD / Satoshi Ohashi, Yoshihiro Yamamoto

Interior  /  Completed
NIKKEN SPACE DESIGN LTD / Satoshi Ohashi, Yoshihiro Yamamoto

Tokyo Kaikan is one of Japan's leading social facilities, originally established on the edge of the Imperial Palace grounds in 1922.As a world-class social gathering place for the public, this project is the third generation of the main building and includes a wedding chapel as part of the master plan.
The ceremony, in which a couple exchanges vows with the blessings of their close friends and family, is a special and emotional moment. The chapel will be an important place with special feelings that will forever remain in the memories of the couple.
In the third-generation Tokyo Kaikan, which has a history of 100 years, there is "history, tradition, and ceremonies". These aspects are suitable for the stage of the special ceremonies that take place, with a unique view overlooking the Imperial Palace forest. We thought the best way to make the most of this stage was to admire the transition of time and the four seasons, and the embodiment of Japanese aesthetics. These blend the beauty of the inside and outside world by blurring the boundaries to create the space as an orthodox “Japanese chapel”.
Although chapels are originally Western, we believe the way chapels can beautifully take in the light and celebrate the sacred atmosphere, can be harmonized with ancient Japanese values and the aesthetic sense that finds a sacred existence and calmness in nature.
The initial flow towards the chapel, was planned with an approach space, used to divide the atmosphere and area from the other areas of Tokyo Kaikan with a classical look.
The approach space - surrounded by light - creates an experience of going through a tunnel of trees in the forest, where sunlight shines through and invites guests to an extraordinary space.
At the end of the approach space, sits a quiet front room with woven art that symbolizes the relationships between people is placed, as the door to the space is opened, light from the sky reveals the chapel space to the guests.
Inside the chapel, warm light shines through the trees and the glimmering landscape creates a sacred atmosphere as if being surrounded by the trees in the forest.
The direction and quality of the natural light coming into the chapel creates an awareness of the changing elements of nature, such as time, season and weather. The contours of the light that appear at the point of contact between the light and the wooden lattice create a special space for just the two people who exist in this very place. The strong contrast between light and shadow, the soft and enveloping light, the shifting contours of the light quietly celebrates the two.
The wooden lattice, designed in cross-section to impressively catch the light, is carefully placed at different angles to create a symbolic scene appear in the background of the stage.
When moving toward the stage, the scenery hidden in the lattice will gradually disperse to create a moving sequence.
The bench is made of natural wood with the same cross section as the wooden lattice that covers the space, its shape enhances the shade of light like the lattice and it is constructed with traditional Japanese timber construction methods, further expressing Japanese beauty.
During the highlight moment of the ceremony, it is possible to open the lattice. What seemed to be fixed at first sight opens to create a scene directly overlooking the Imperial Palace.
With regards to the lighting, a lace curtain is used for diffusing light and a two-layer electric shade is provided, complementing the scenery with the natural conditions. This allows the possibility to enjoy the space even on a rainy day, and captures the afternoon sun, which becomes a dispersed back-light, wrapping the chapel space.
Further consideration was given to the expression of various scenes, such as light that is softly wrapped, and the effect of a ray of light piercing through darkness.
Natural solid wood and stones are used as the predominate materials, with the expression of these natural elements creating a mysterious atmosphere.
The distinctive cracked-skin stone wall represents the masonry of the Imperial Palace moat and acts as a part of the foreground scenery. The construction method and pattern of this stone pattern dampens the effects of shaking and displacement during an Earthquake.
The chapel of Tokyo Kaikan creates a special moment on a special day, and is created by the ever changing exterior environment, weather, and light. Resonating in harmony with the interior is a chapel that exists only in the moment, though stays with the visitors forever in memory.


 Tokyo Kaikan
 Mitsubishi Jisyo Sekkei, Nikken Construction Management
 NIKKEN SPACE DESIGN LTD / Yoshihiro Yamamoto, Satoshi Ohashi
 Taisei Corporation
 Taisei Corporation
 JTB Trading,Inc.(Furniture), Tendo Mokko(Wood Bench), Art Front Gallery(Art)
 Kenji Masunaga


Originally established as the interior design department of NIKKEN SEKKEI LTD,
Nikken Space Design (NSD) has more than 60 years of experience in the field. As a part of the Nikken group since 1994, NSD now works not only with Nikken Sekkei but also in partnership with various architects and artists.

With 80 highly experienced designers, NSD is currently working on numerous design projects for both Japanese and international clients.

NSD’s wide range of experience covers interior design for hotels, high–rise offices, retail complexes, hospitals, educational institutions, restaurants, shops and even private residences.

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