a 21st-century redesign of Aldo Rossi’s Hotel Il Palazzo
After 34 years of operation and several changes in ownership, Hotel il Palazzo, originally envisioned by Aldo Rossi, has recently undergone a redesign led by Uchida Design Inc. Taking inspiration from Milan’s Memphis Group and the vibrant scene of Studio 54 in New York, il Palazzo was born in the late 1980s, a period characterized by architectural extravagance. The hotel, located in Fukuoka City, Japan, opened its doors on October 1, 2023, retaining its original charm while receiving a fresh makeover that stays true to its essence of softness and natural materials. This transformation pays homage to the past while embracing the present and strives to fuse Eastern and Western design elements, establishing itself as Japan’s premier boutique hotel.
all images by Satoshi Asakawa
stepping into a time-honored structure
The redesign by Uchida Design (find more here) introduces new color palettes and interpretations, updating the hotel’s original three-color scheme of red, green, and blue. This modern reinterpretation adds a contemporary flair to the space, incorporating elements like grids and stripes. Lighting distribution is delicately reimagined, aligning with the hotel’s unique underground spaces and guest room hallways. Rossi’s initial vision aimed to blur the lines between public and private space, creating a city within a building. The redesign continues this spirit, with plans to use the front piazza for community events and farmers’ markets, fulfilling Rossi’s original dream of creating a borderless space.
the hotel retains its original charm, paying homage to the past while embracing the present
The makeover by Uchida Design stands out with an impactful entrance. In the original design, guests accessed the entrance and reception on the second floor via outdoor stairs. However, the redesign relocated the entrance to the first floor and the reception to the basement, creating an underground passageway connecting the hotel to the vibrant city. This shift creates a bold contrast with its dark blue entrance and a wall adorned with a decorative flower vase, symbolizing the coexistence of nature and urban life. The basement now houses the new reception and lounge named El Dorado, designed by Aldo Rossi himself. The lounge incorporates a liquor cabinet that pays homage to the hotel’s iconic facade. To add a dynamic touch to the environment, Uchida’s late work, the Dancing Water sculpture, has been included, symbolizing encounters and memories. The lounge’s tables and chairs maintain the original design’s aesthetics.
the team introduces a fusion of Eastern and Western design elements
Transitioning from the basement to the guest rooms, each floor’s elevator hall features mirrors adorned with Aldo Rossi’s drawings, taking inspiration from the initial design concept. The hallway includes the clock Dear Morris and the lighting L’uovo, which add a touch of timeless elegance to the space. The guest rooms, designed with a modern sensibility, prioritize comfort. The choice of mattresses, linens, and furniture pays tribute to the original Uchida designs while incorporating serene colors that enhance the overall experience.
Uchida Design infuses the hotel with new color palettes and interpretations