PANORAMIC SEA VIEWS

FEATURE

PANORAMIC SEA VIEWS

Designed by the architect Tadao Ando, Setouchi Retreat Aonagi overlooks the Inland Sea in surroundings that offer visitors a glimpse of perfection.

The Setouchi Triennale, a contemporary-art festival held across various islands in the Inland Sea, has achieved international renown. From the Chichu Art Museum and Benesse House to the Ando Museum, designs by Tadao Ando appear throughout Naoshima, the island where the festival mostly takes place. Setouchi Retreat Aonagi is another Ando classic. Previously home to a gallery, among other things, it’s now been converted into a hotel. As the building’s brutalist form meets light and shade, the result is a structural elegance that enables it to stand out from the woodland around it.
The interior creates a borderless space that blends inside and outside while providing stunning views over the Inland Sea. It’s a unique vantage point, and one that you can enjoy as you sample Ehime Prefecture’s seasonal produce from Tobe-yaki plates and bowls. Ando has also used the building’s setting to his advantage. The covered pool that points towards the sea encapsulates his vision. With a ring of mountains bordering it, the water often remains calm for extended periods, known as nagi in Japanese, in which the sea’s surface shimmers, mirror-like. As you dive into the pool, you create your own connection with the tranquil sea.

The bare concrete and glass composition is typical of Ando’s architecture. Here he also achievesan exquisite harmonising of water and greenery.

The bare concrete and glass composition is typical of Ando’s architecture. Here he also achievesan exquisite harmonising of water and greenery.

The moss-covered islands in the gravel coutryard echo the layout of the islands of the Inland Sea.

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