Leaf Chapel

Yamanashi, Japan
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Photo © Katsuhisa Kida
Architects
Klein Dytham architecture
Year
2004

The Leaf chapel sits within the grounds of the Risonare hotel resort in Kobuchizawa, a refreshingly green setting with beautiful views to the southern Japanese Alps, Yatsugatake peaks and Mt.Fuji.

The chapel is formed by 2 leaves - one glass, one steel - which have seemingly fluttered to the ground. The glass leaf with its delicate lace pattern motif emulates a pergola and the structure holding it up reminds one of the veins of a leaf which slowly become thinner the further they get from the central stem.

The white steel leaf, perforated with 4700 holes, each of which holds an acrylic lens, is similar to bride's veil made of delicate lace. Light filters through the lenses and projects a lace pattern onto the white fabric inside. Throughout the day as the sun turns the projected pattern naturally changes to create a myriad of different lace patterns on the inner lining of the veil creating a marvelous background to the wedding ceremony.

The bright white purity of the occasion is heightened even more by keeping the interior materials purposely dark; the side are walls clad in blackened timber and the floor laid in black granite so the bride and the kimono clad guests stand out while the men in black suits fade into the background.

At the end of the ceremony when the groom lifts the bride's veil for the kiss the 'steel veil' magically opens too, revealing the pond and the enchanting nature beyond. Although weighing 11 tons the cylinder mechanism allows the veil to lift silently, almost like a sheet of fabric, in 38 seconds.

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