By Heera Basi
While most of the country is basking in the summertime heat, here in San Francisco the summer fog has me dreaming of sunshine and the outdoors. Fortunately, our summer is just around the corner and there is no better or more fabulous way to soak up that experience than GLAMPING! I recently learned of a Japanese resort that epitomizes the Glamping experience – the Hoshinoya Fuji. Ever since learning about this resort, I have been inspired by their design philosophy, approach to hospitality, and connection to the landscape and local surroundings. As a member of the Feldman Architecture Interiors team, I will certainly be looking to this glamping resort for inspiration on my next project!
The Hoshinoya is an experience based luxury resort company that is equivalent to a lifestyle brand. Their philosophy focuses on much more than just the basic hotel function of providing a place for tourists and travelers to sleep. From the food, activities, siting, and most importantly, the design, the Hoshinoya approach focuses on stimulating all the senses and providing a completely immersive and transformative experience. They market the guest experience through a storytelling narrative – detailing the arrival, stay, and feelings upon departure.
The Hoshinoya Fuji resort is tucked into the foothills of Mount Fuji above Lake Kawaguchi. Appealing to local climbers and tourists looking to get out of the city, the resort offers an elevated and luxurious glamping experience. As they say: “Glamping is a stylish form of play designed to stimulate these dormant senses –without the toil and labor associated with camping– but it requires a suitably sophisticated playground to be effective.” Guests are greeted by the smell of smoke from a large campfire, the sound of leaves crunching under foot, and are encompassed by the forest and eventually the breathtaking views of Mt Fuji.
Azuma Architect & Associates designed the resort to give visitors different levels and qualities of the glamping experience. The site is broken up into two zones: the lower cabin zone and the upper cloud zone.
The cabins are sited such that the approach leads visitors through the woods, and upon entering their individual cabin they are greeted with a majestic view of Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi. The architecture is not literally evocative of a cabin in the woods, which would be a simplistic and one-dimensional approach. Instead the cabins are made from concrete and glass. What could be seen as an ultra-modern and cold experience in fact breaks down and abstracts the core elements of camping to a glamorous core. Each concrete unit is staggered, and this shifting allows each one to have a view of Fuji beyond. The cabin interiors are also minimalist, alluding to the idea that the outdoor experience is simpler and less adorned. Additionally, each cabin has a balcony that comes fixed with a wood stove to emulate the experience of sitting around a campfire. This understated elegance also accentuates the views of the adjacent lake and natural surroundings, making the views and outdoors the primary focus of the experience.
In contrast to the cabin zone, the upper cloud zone has no dramatic views and instead focuses more internally on the experience of being immersed in the woods. This zone includes a dining area, café, and gathering space for guests. The wooden platforms that comprise the cloud zone are sited so that they float above the forest.
As a takeaway, just remember: “Glamping is simply a conduit for delivering the finest offerings of the wild.”
Next Step: Scheming a way to visit in person and make this summer daydream a reality!