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Ace Hotel builds on a Kyoto legacy

Company tapped an all-star cast of creatives for its first Japanese venture

A tatami suite with artwork by Samiro Yunoki in the Ace Hotel Kyoto. Designed in 1926, the building has been renovated and extended by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

Although Kyoto is famous for its old wooden buildings and temples, the Shimpukan comes from a different part of the ancient city's architectural past. A handsome brick building on Karasuma Street in the center of the city, it was designed in 1926 by Tetsuro Yoshida, a modernist who had studied in Germany. Originally the Kyoto Central Telephone Company Building, the Shimpukan has been renovated and extended by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and forms part of a new 213-room Ace Hotel, the first opening in Japan for the Los Angeles-headquartered hotel brand.

"When we're looking for properties to house an Ace Hotel, we are always engaged by the history and lore that a potential site might hold," says Kelly Sawdon, Ace's chief brand officer. "Kengo Kuma is a longtime friend of Ace and has been sending us potential sites in Japan for years."

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