Standing Out from the Crowd

A colourful new arrival in the pulsating heart of Tokyo.

Issue: Apr 2009


The stylish facade of the Citadines Tokyo Shinjuku.

Dazzling skyscrapers punctuate the sky, a multitude of neon signs scream for attention, crowds of people spill from the one of the world's busiest stations - this is Shinjuku, a high-rise shopping and entertainment hub, that receives over half a million travellers each day - the ideal district for a new serviced residence property that personifies vibrant, urban living.

"When you are in an area like Shinjuku, your building either blends in or shouts out," says Quah Soo Gee, Assistant Vice President, Product & Technical Services, Ascott International Management. Citadines Tokyo Shinjuku strikes a balance between the two. Behind its colourful façade are 160 comfortable and spacious apartments furnished and equipped to the highest standards.

For the first Citadines in Japan, Ascott, on the advice of their partner in this venture, Mitsubishi Estate Company Limited, chose to work with renowned design company Kanko Kikaku Sekkeisha (KKS), the division of KKS Group that specialises in designing for hospitality.

The vibrant streets of Shinjuku.
Following the brief to create a building that is outstanding and comfortable, KKS began with a bold, energetic façade. Each step of the recessed frontage is painted in alternating colours - dazzling, daffodil yellow and vivid, royal blue. This is framed by a contrasting white, rectilinear façade making up asymmetrical squares and rectangles. The overall effect, although, according to Quah, coincidental rather than purposeful, is not dissimilar to the De Stijl school, with surface decoration minimised and an abstract aesthetic style composed solely of primary colours combined with straight lines of white. This intriguing composition draws the observer into the building.

The interior, also designed by KKS, is almost a reverse of the exterior. Here, white is the foundation of the palette, combined with calm, neutral hues of brown and cream for a tranquil, cool ambience. Splashes of brilliant colour enliven the scheme - bursts of purple and orange in the furnishings and red, blue and yellow in the artworks. A steel and wire sculpture in vivacious colours, commissioned for the lobby by local artist Atsushi Hosoi, reinforces the Citadines brand ethos of vibrant living.

The 160 studio rooms range in size from 25 to 31 square metres, very spacious by Japanese standards. "Comfort is of the utmost importance," says Quah of the furnishings. Large, over-stuffed sofas and chairs and beds fitted with dream educing sprung mattresses are testament to this. The remaining fittings are sleek and contemporary in style. Guests have access to broadband Internet and each unit has a plasma television, DVD player and HiFi audio system in the lounge area. Fully equipped kitchens with modern appliances offer the option to dine in, a welcome choice for longer-term guests.

[Left to Right]: The double studio is spacious and relaxing. The sleek and modern gym to keep fit in. The bright and colourful lobby.

As difficult as it may be to leave the comfort of your apartment, a short stroll away to soak in all the buzz and excitement of Shinjuku awaits. The area is made for exploring and you never know what you might find from one block to another. Wander the skyscraper district and crane your neck at some of the city's architectural icons. Shop in stores of all shapes and sizes from roadside stalls to mega-malls offering everything from cheap electronics to haute couture. Or hang around for a little people watching at Shinjuku station, a non-stop theatre of comings and goings. Kabuki-cho is the main entertainment area, with literally thousands of neon-lit bars, restaurants and clubs. Try your skills at a game of Pachinko or exercise your vocal chords in a karaoke parlour, both favourite pastimes of the Japanese.

If the hectic pace gets a little much, step into the peaceful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, an oasis of calm and beauty, a world away from the frenzied pace of the streets that surround it. One of Tokyo's biggest parks, Shinjuku Gyoen has large open spaces, forests and lovely groves of cherry and plum trees. It is famed for its glorious blossoms in springtime.

Calm and tranquillity in a vibrant, trendy district, Shinjuku, like Citadines, strikes the perfect balance.

Citadines Tokyo Shinjuku
1-28-13 Shinjuku
Tokyo 160 0022

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