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Japanese architect breaks new ground with rural boutique hotel

Shigeru Ban goes from megaprojects and low-cost housing to art and nature in a verdant setting

The Grand Room of the Shishi-Iwa House at dusk: Designed by award-winning architect Shigeru Ban, the hotel can be enjoyed in all seasons and times of day.    © Hiroyuki Hirai

KARUIZAWA, Japan -- Some people travel to experience the art of luxury. But newly opened boutique hotel Shishi-Iwa House, in the central Japanese mountain resort area of Karuizawa, puts a fresh spin on the concept by offering guests the luxury of experiencing both art and nature.

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese master architect Shigeru Ban, the property was developed by Singapore-based HDH Capital Management and aims to offer what it calls "bespoke involvement" with great architecture and contemporary art surrounded by nature.

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