Exterior of former Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto

Nintendo's former HQ to reopen as hotel designed by Tadao Ando

Japanese architect Tadao Ando has transformed a building that was once home to video game giant Nintendo into a boutique hotel.

Due to open on 1 April, Marufukuro Hotel will be located in Kyoto in a building that was occupied by Nintendo between 1933 and 1959, when the company was called Yamauchi Nintendo.

At the time, the company was a manufacturer of Japanese playing cards called "hanafuda" and Western-style playing cards called "karuta" and "toranpu".

Interior of former Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto
The building was home to Nintendo from 1933 to 1959

Located in the Kagiyacho neighbourhood, just north of Kyoto railway station, the building has been unoccupied ever since Nintendo vacated it.

Ando has renovated and extended the old structure, converting it into an 18-room hotel including a restaurant, bar, spa and gym.

The building's exterior has remained largely unchanged, retaining elements such as old Yamauchi Nintendo entrance plaques and window grilles patterned with details from the old playing cards.

Ando's task was to reimagine the building's interior but incorporate many of its original 1930s details, which include decorative tiling and art-deco lighting fixtures.

Fireplace in former Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto
Art-deco details are retained in the renovation

For the annex, the architect has adopted a more modern approach with floor-to-ceiling windows and elements in raw concrete, the material he is famous for.

Photos of the completed Marufukuro Hotel have so far been kept under wraps, but the hotel is already taking bookings and has released some visuals showing layout and furniture details in the guest rooms.

Guests can choose to stay in either the old or new parts of the building, in rooms ranging in size between 33 and 79 square metres.

The project is backed by property developer Plan Do See.

Hotel in Kyoto that was Nintendo's HQ
Tadao Ando converted the existing building into an 18-room hotel

Ando is among Japan's most prolific architects. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1995, his best-known projects include Church of the Light and Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum.

Recent projects include the renovation of the Bourse de Commerce building in Paris, which proved controversial, and art centre Casa Wabi in Mexico.

It was recently announced that Ando is designing a Palm Springs home for reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

More images

Lighting in former Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto