Back in 1989, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH) signed an agreement for the development of Peninsula Tokyo at Tokyo Tower. A year’s efforts ended after changes in local government. Then, in 2000, HSH signed a deal with Mitsubishi Estate Company, for a unique site at the edge of Marunouchi, overlooking the Imperial Palace Gardens. The agreement allowed for the development of a single-use Hotel building, from B4 to the Roof, highly unusual in capital cities around the world.
Miller began the effort with a Design Brief for a 330+ room hotel, with a full range of public facilities. A team was assembled, with the Concept Design led the Chicago office of SOM. A typical floor plan was developed with the 50 SqM “Peninsula Room” module, and using a centre core to maximize the trapezoidal-shaped site. The first design in 2000 attempted to get approval for a building higher than the stated height limits. Some negotiations were held, and the building height was capped at 110m.
From 2001 onwards, the architectural design was led by Kazukiyo Sato, design director of Mitsubishi Jissho Sekkei, who developed the classic base/tower/ top parti. The base of the building was developed with a stone and bronze facade built to align with the neighborhood 30m height line. The tower of glass and aluminum curtainwall rises to a 3-story crown of opaque glass, (hiding mechanical equipment) and providing a brilliantly lit crown at night.
Peninsula wanted the traditional functional elements of a Peninsula, but interpreted in an appropriately modern Japanese manner. It was a challenge finding that stylistic “sweet spot”. In 2003, the Interior Design team was changed to a local firm with little hotel design experience, Hashimoto Yukio Design Studio (HYDS). They brought a fresh feeling to the design process. Japanese design language simply expressed in natural materials, and patterns.
Ultimately, the design team grew to create a unified whole of architecture, interior design, landscape, lighting, graphics and even artwork; the harmonious foundation of a landmark hotel in Tokyo.