Old Storage Building Converted to ‘Art Storage Hotel’

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By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
The first basement floor of “KAIKA Tokyo by THE SHARE HOTELS,” which was used as a warehouse building and then reborn as an art storage hotel, is seen in Sumida Ward on Jan. 26. Artworks are stored and displayed in what used to be a cargo unloading space.

A storage building built in 1966 was reborn in July 2020 as an “art storage hotel,” a contemporary art hub that combines the storing of art with accommodation facilities.

Located in a residential area of Honjo in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, the hotel is a six-story building with one basement level. There are storage rooms on the first floor and in the basement, where artworks are both stored and displayed.

The first floor is open to the public, while works in the basement are accessible to hotel guests only. The facility has adopted a unique style of using its storage space to showcase artworks.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
Artworks are also displayed in front of the hotel reception desk.

The hotel is named “KAIKA Tokyo by THE SHARE HOTELS.” The word Kaika contains three meanings: “open shelves” to show the storage rooms, “enlightenment” to promote art, and the “flowering” of artists’ talent.

Many art galleries in Tokyo are said to either store their artworks nearby in exchange for high fees or far away for low fees.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
An artwork is displayed in front of huge elevators, which still retain the appearance from its days as a warehouse.

The operator of KAIKA Tokyo benefit by letting galleries use the hotel’s huge basement space, which was previously used as a cargo handling area, and the entrance area on the first floor as storage space at a low cost, while also exhibiting the artwork for hotel guests to appreciate.

Times are changing, and demand for warehouse buildings is in decline. At the same time, the hotel is located in an area that attracts many foreign visitors due to its close proximity to Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree and Ryogoku.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
The passageway from the hotel entrance to the front desk

The hotel’s operator chose to use the building as an “art storage hotel” in a bid to repurpose a uniquely shaped building in a residential area.

Currently, eight galleries are showing works in nine art storage rooms at the hotel.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
The interior of one of the hotel’s 73 guest rooms

The facility also organizes the KAIKA TOKYO AWARD every two years to discover talented artists. Works are solicited from the public, and the selected works are stored and exhibited at the hotel for two years.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
The entrance of KAIKA Tokyo by THE SHARE HOTELS. The building was used as storage space before.

“We thought this hotel could provide galleries and artists with inexpensive storage space and the opportunity to showcase their work. At the same time, we give hotel guests a special experience, such as the chance to view artwork from behind, the parts that are invisible when they look at them from the front in museums,” said a hotel spokesperson.