NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea Japan architecture design, Japanese building images

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Japan

16 May 2024

Design: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

Location: Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea, Japan

BIG & Japanese Hospitality Group ‘not A Hotel’ Partner To Create Remote Island Destination In Setouchi, Japan.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea

Renders by MIR unless noted otherwise

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island

The design for luxury hotelier NOT A HOTEL’s newest resort on Japan’s Sagi Island – NOT A HOTEL Setouchi – builds on the longstanding dialogue between Scandinavian and Japanese design values. The hotel weaves naturally throughout the island’s mountains, incorporating natural and local materials while promoting a connection to nature.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

Japanese hospitality group NOT A HOTEL began its partnership with BIG in 2022 to expand the company’s existing six hospitality offerings across Japan. Located on a 30,000-square-metre site on the remote island of Sagishima in Japan’s Setouchi region, the partnership brings three villas to the southwestern cape of the island with panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea. NOT A HOTEL Setouchi is slated to break ground later this year, joining BIG’s growing portfolio of hospitality projects including Audemars Piguet’s Hôtel des Horlogers in Le Brassus, Switzerland; Vollebak Island in Canada; and the Biosphere cabin at Treehotel in Swedish Lapland.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea

“In the last few decades, Japan has been attracting attention as a place to experience stunning natural landscapes as well as high-end design, innovative architecture, and cutting-edge art. The Seto Inland Sea area, where NOT A HOTEL SETOUCHI will be built, brings together all of these aspects of Japanese tourism into a single site. In partnering with BIG, we are creating one of Japan’s most luxurious villas on Sagi Island, which will be a gateway for more people to experience the charm of the Setouchi region.” – Shinji Hamauzu, CEO and Founder, NOT A HOTEL

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

The relationship between Scandinavian and Japanese design began in the 19th century, when Japan opened their borders to international travellers. Soon after, Scandinavian designers began visiting the country and quickly became fascinated by the Japanese style for its simplicity, use of natural materials and connection to nature – the same principles that guide the design ethos for NOT A HOTEL Setouchi.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea

The masterplan for NOT A HOTEL Setouchi prioritises restoration of the undulating terrain, where grass will be harvested before construction begins, while olive trees, lemon trees and other native vegetation will be reintroduced to further enhance the site’s natural beauty. The three villas – named ‘360,’ ‘270’ and ‘180’ depending on location and corresponding views – intentionally blend into the landscape’s natural contours, aligning with existing roads and infrastructure. Spread across varying elevations, the resort appears like a ribbon winding through the site.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea

“Our design approach for NOT A HOTEL Setouchi wasn’t about imposing our ideas on the site; instead, it involved exploring, observing and understanding the landscape. We envisioned how to best leverage this distinctive and remarkable terrain and fixed upon a design that mirrors the elegance of traditional Japanese architecture.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea

Japan is one of the cultures in the world where commitment to craft and care for quality remains intact. The honesty and simplicity of the structure and careful choice of materials can be said to have greatly influenced the traditional architecture of Japan and the modern architecture of Denmark. Maybe that’s why when I go to Japan, I always feel like I’m coming home. NOT A HOTEL Setouchi will be an experiment in what happens when the sensibilities of both countries come together – the Danish desire for simplicity and the care and perfection of Japan.” – Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island Japan
render : LIT design

Each villa has distinct design characteristics that fit into their specific location onsite. The ring-shaped ‘360’ is perched at the highest altitude, offering literal 360-degree views of Setouchi’s land and seascape with a central courtyard for privacy. ‘270’ captures a 270-degree panorama of the surrounding archipelago, featuring bathing spaces arranged like floating islands around the pool alongside a sauna and open firepit. At the peninsula’s tip, ‘180’ is the closest to the sea, whose curvature follows the coastal landscape. The home includes an inner courtyard with gentle slopes, mossy pathways and trees that change colour with the seasons.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island Japan
render : LIT design

The three- and four-bedroom villas reference the design of traditional Japanese single-story houses, incorporating materials local to Japan. The essential elements of the homes – the façade, roof, walls and floor – all preserve traditional Japanese architectural elements while being reimagined for modern-day use.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group NOT A HOTEL Setouchi by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

Glass façades that connect the interior and exterior are a modern interpretation of shoji screens, while the pattern of the Genshoseki natural slate floors is inspired by the layout of traditional Japanese tatami mats. The load bearing curved clay walls are achieved using the traditional rammed earth technique, incorporating soil directly from the site.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island Japan
render : LIT design

Each villa opens into a large, unified space, with areas of functionality such as bathrooms and storage rooms consolidated into separate volumes, or pods. Skylights are placed atop these more private pods to provide views from any point within the buildings – balancing openness with solitude.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island Japan
render : LIT design

The villas all feature traditional Japanese baths, calming colour palettes, outdoor firepits and heated infinity pools that blur the boundaries between the properties and the surrounding nature.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Japan

“Setouchi comprises a dense and dramatic archipelago, characterized by beautiful undulating silhouettes of mountainous islands. Our approach for this design aims to simultaneously expand and enhance the vast panoramic views of the archipelago while creating moments of intimacy and privacy through minimal architectural interventions. NOT A HOTEL Setouchi fuses the essence of BIG and modern Danish architecture with the DNA of NOT A HOTEL and traditional Japanese culture.” – Ryohei Koike, Associate, BIG

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Japan

The roofs at NOT A HOTEL Setouchi are covered on all sides with solar tiles, representing a technological and modern interpretation of a traditional Japanese roof. Rainwater collected by the elevated roofs is used to irrigate the landscaping, while the operable façades and overhangs promote passive cooling in spring and summer.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island Japan
render : LIT design

NOT A HOTEL runs a network of luxury vacation homes across Japan based on a shared ownership model. The company will soon open sales for the Setouchi villas on its official website, and the resort is slated to open in 2026.

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Japan

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island – Building Information


Size: 2,350 sq m
Location: Setouchi, Japan
Collaborators:  Maeda Corporation, ARUP Japan, 1moku, NOSIGHT, BOCS, Mir, LIT design

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea


Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Leon Rost
Design Lead: Ryohei Koike
Project Manager: Yu Inamoto
Project Architect: Mamoru Hoshi, Casey Tucker

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

Project Team: Andrea Hektor, Christina Papadopoulou, Cullen Yoshihiko Fu, Don Chen, Jan Leenknegt, Jasmine Nicholson, Jeremy Felson, Joanna Lesna, Konstantinos Koutsoupakis, Margaret Tyrpa, Matthew Lau, Naysan John Foroudi, Oskar Alfred Maly, Paul Heberle, Pavel Tomek, Sang Ha Jung, Steven Op, Suyue Huo, Théo Hamy

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island, Seto Inland Sea

Renders by MIR + LIT design

Seto Inland Sea building design by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG Architects + BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

NOT A HOTEL Setouchi, Sagi Island Japan information/images received 160524 from Bjarke Ingels Group, 145 Main St #9, Brooklyn, New York City, New York 11201, United States of America

Location: Setouchi, Sagi Island, Japan, East Asia

Japan Hotel Designs

Contemporary Japan Hotel Buildings – selection from e-architect:

Dogo Hakuro Hotel Matsuyama Japan - Japanese architecture news
photos by Shingo Tsuji and Ryuji Shiraishi
Dogo Hakuro Hotel, Matsuyama

W Hotel Osaka, 4-1-3 Minami Senba, Chuo-ku, 542-0081 Osaka
Design: Concrete
W Hotel Osaka Japan
photograph : marriott international
W Hotel Osaka

Kasho Gyoen Hotel Accommodation, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, northern Japan
Architects: Hiramoto Design Studio
Kasho Gyoen Hotel in Hokkaido - Japanese Architecture News
photography: Koji Fujii / Nacása&Partners Inc
Kasho Gyoen Hotel in Hokkaido

Ninja Black Kyoto Hotel, centre of Kyoto
Architect: Eastern Design Office
Hotel Ninja Black in Kyoto City - Japanese architecture news
photography : Koichi Torimura, Jeffrey Friedl, Takashi Inaizumi
Hotel Ninja Black in Kyoto City

Private Resort XIV Toba Bettei, Arashima, Toba City, Mie
Private Resort XIV Toba
photo : Nacása & Partners Inc.
Private Resort XIV Toba Bettei in Ise-Shima

Japanese Architecture Designs

Contemporary Japan Architectural Selection

Japanese Architecture Design – chronological list

Japanese Houses

Japanese Architecture – Selection

Sumu Yakushima, Yakushima Island, Kagoshima prefecture
Design: tono Inc.
Sumu Yakushima Yakushima Island Japan
photo : Rui Nishi
Sumu Yakushima, Kagoshima Prefecture

Ohori Terrace, Fukuoka City, Kyushu Island
Design: rhythmdesign.Ltd.
Ohori Terrace Fukuoka Japan
photo © Koichi Torimura
Ohori Terrace, Fukuok

Y-House, Fukui
Architects: Baum
Y-House Fukui Japan - Japanese architecture news
photo : Naoki Myo
Y-House in Fukui

Mountains & Opening House, Hyogo
EASTERN design office
Mountains & Opening House

Japanese Architect

Japanese Buildings

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group Architects News

Comments / photos for the ASD KonneKt, Matsuyama City, Japan designed by Chiasma Factory Inc. page welcome.