words Louis Wise
A wedding chapel has been designed by Jun Aoki for the Hyatt Regency hotel in Osaka, Japan. The Tokyo-based architect describes it as “serene, silent, solemn and supreme”.
The small, shrine-like building, moored in an artificial lake, has an innovative structural facade comprising a complex grid of iron rings. “Architecture often separates structure and decoration,” says Aoki. “But in this chapel there is no border between these two elements.”
The ring components were inspired by the shape of a tetrahedron. Its flat planes were replaced with rings, connected at their edges. Although the structure uses rings to create diamond-like shapes, the two most common symbols of marriage, Aoki says this is a happy coincidence: “I just pursued a beautiful geometrical shape.”
Hundreds of these solid yet transparent units have been sandwiched between an external wall of glass and an interior opaque fabric screen made from organdy – a lightweight, stiff form of cotton.
By day sunlight enters the chapel through the six-metre-high network of rings. At night, it is illuminated by fluorescent strip lighting along the top and bottom of the wall, along with recessed halogen down lights, creating a glowing reflection in the lake.
The floor and north wall of the wedding chapel are clad in white marble, inspired by the simple Romanesque churches of Catalonia. The building, accessible by a small bridge across the water from the hotel, is one of three chapels located on the Hyatt Regency site. It has already proved the most popular, with 200 weddings performed since it opened last April. Hyatt International asked Aoki to design the chapel following his string of Louis Vuitton stores in Japan and New York