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Akinori Kanao &
Seiichiro Takeuchi
A True Kyoto Art Salon

01 MBO Node Kyoto Akinori Kanao Seiichiro Takeuchi
  • Words Allison Reiber DiLiegro
  • Images Xavier Tera

“I do believe that for any creator, his own life itself is the source of art,” Seiichiro Takeuchi says. “Collaborating with people in diverse fields has become my greatest strength.”

Seiichiro Takeuchi and Akinori Kanao—the architect and director behind Node Kyoto, respectively—have drawn upon diversity to build something greater than a hotel. They’ve founded a cultural clubhouse where disparate ideas interact. There’s industrial design in a former imperial captial, a serious art collection with laidback curation, and locals mixing with travelers at exhibitions and happenings. It’s all in the name. Node invokes a place where two paths cross or branch in new directions.

Node Kyoto is both—a commingling of worlds and a ground zero for creation. Take Kanao and Takeuchi. Each man followed his own path into the creative orbit of the city: Kanao worked as a graphic designer and consultant, while Takeuchi was an architect at Tadao Ando Architect & Associates. After a brief meeting at a Kyoto guesthouse, Kanao and Takeuchi were invited to join the Node Kyoto team. And just like that, a collision branched a new path.

02 MBO Node Kyoto Chair
03 MBO Node Kyoto Akinori Kanao Seiichiro Takeuchi

Node Kyoto was designed to be a hub for artists, designers, and other creators. This last year has brought more quiet. Do you think silence is important?

Akinori Kanao: Having a life without silence makes me exhausted. I wish I had the power to create silence, but I am not mature enough to do it yet. For example, when I am driving a car I am doing something physical, but I’m also thinking about something. This way fits me better for now—finding silence in life rather than thinking I have to concentrate on creating silence.

Seiichiro Takeuchi: Yes, there is plenty of information out there, so taking time to face things in silence is important.

04 MBO Node Kyoto Akinori Kanao Seiichiro Takeuchi Temple Walk

Takeuchi and Kanao have a deep connection to Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera temple

05 MBO Node Kyoto Seiichiro Takeuchi
06 MBO Node Kyoto Forest Mountain Temple

“Kiyomizu-dera” translates to “pure water temple,” named for the Otowa Waterfall, where visitors drink sacred waters

07 MBO Node Kyoto Temple
08 MBO Node Kyoto Temple Meditation
09 MBO Node Kyoto Temple City View

As the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto has a rich history. How do you remain authentic to that history when creating something new?

ST: I do believe that authenticity is understandable for people who have actually experienced it. The reason that younger generations are less obsessed with authenticity could be because there are plenty of inauthentic things out there that are easily attained. However, it is not easy for people to understand what is authentic and what is not authentic, so especially younger people need to experience authenticity from their elders.

AK: I feel that ideas and aesthetics have been created by those who came before us. I am just a person who is expressing these things.

10 MBO Node Kyoto Kimono Studio Akinori Kanao Seiichiro Takeuchi

Inside Toyowado kimono atelier, owned by Kanao’s business partner

11 MBO Node Kyoto Kimono Studio Artist

“The people who surround me lead me to where I am now.”

Akinori Kanao

12 MBO Node Kyoto Kimono Studio Art Piece
13 MBO Node Kyoto Kimono Studio Akinori Kanao

What is the most enjoyable thing in life?

AK: When I am working through a project and my thoughts and plans are all neatly arranged on one sheet.

ST: When a space I imagined is created—when I see people in that space with their eyes shining—that moment is irreplaceable. Especially when I see people I do not know who are impressed by what I created, that is when I can see I was able to create value for society. I always want to be a person who leaves a positive effect on society.

14 MBO Node Kyoto Seiichiro Studio Seiichiro Takeuchi

Takeuchi inside his Kyoto studio

15 MBO Node Kyoto Seiichiro Studio Work Detail
16 MBO Node Kyoto Seiichiro Studio Seiichiro Takeuchi

What is something you wish you had done sooner?

ST: Everything that I have done in the past has meaning, so I never regret what I have done.

AK: Listen to the teachings from my parents: “Put yourself in their shoes. Make others smile.” These things are universal. After my father retired from work as an entrepreneur, he became a Buddhist priest. He was the person who always had a Buddhist ideology. When I was young, I did not understand what he repeatedly told me, and I thought it was boring. However, as I age, I realize how important these universal, obvious truths are in my life.

“I do believe that
authenticity is
understandable for
people who have
actually experienced it.”

Seiichiro Takeuchi

17 MBO Node Kyoto Akinori Kanao Seiichiro Takeuchi Temple

A “node” can also be defined as a redistribution point. Do you see yourselves changing directions?

ST: I do believe that I can change the “small direction,” but the “big direction” cannot change easily. However, there are good and bad directions, and it’s important for me to join the flow of good direction.

AK: I do not think I will change direction, as long as I keep learning. Because the Node Kyoto is now here on Earth, I would like to continue growing it. I would like the hotel to continue evolving.

18 MBO Node Kyoto Interior Design 1
18 MBO Node Kyoto Interior Design 2
18 MBO Node Kyoto Interior Design 3
19 MBO Node Kyoto Interior Design Poster Lobby

Featured Hotels

T Node Hotel Kyoto Japan

Node Kyoto

Japan, Kyoto

Featured Hotels

T Node Hotel Kyoto Japan

Node Kyoto

Japan, Kyoto
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