Unleash Your Creativity with Andaz Salon Events

By Juliette Olah
January 6, 2016
Art & Culture

Inspiration is an elusive phenomenon. It’s difficult to articulate, and it’s not easy to generate effectively for others. However, this is exactly the ambition of the Andaz and its series of Andaz Salon cultural events.

Taking place in the achingly chic Andaz Tokyo hotel in Toranomon Hills, the ticketed events consist of talks and interactive workshops with artists, designers, photographers and other visionaries. But really, you can ditch trite expectations altogether when you have the opportunity to attend one of these evenings. Each night is designed to be decked with surprises that will inevitably leave you with an altered viewpoint.

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“Andaz” is a Hindi word translating to “personal style,” and the entire Andaz experience is one that has been thoughtfully crafted from beginning to end to reflect imagination, self-expression and a modern, casual sophistication. Several interior architects were commissioned to design the opulent space, with a brief to reference elements of Japanese history and culture. The end result is eye-catching and decadent, with distinct elements of each designer’s input adding individual flavor to the whole. In a similar way, the Andaz Salon events are an extension of the brand, enriching the Andaz ethos of self expression and creativity.

I recently had the chance to experience two Andaz Salon events. The first was a workshop with Paris-based artist Yoshi Itu’ who creates wearable art using fashion and accessories as his canvas. Attendees were treated to an impeccable selection of exotic nibbles and premium champagne (of course). Just to look around the room at the spectacular sweeping night scene across Tokyo, Tokyo Tower glittering in close proximity, with Itu’s bold painted wares displayed deftly in the foreground, was an exhilarating sight to absorb.

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Judging from the paint tubes sprawled across the central table, it was clear this one was set to be a hands-on affair. After Itu addressed the guests for the evening with a short introduction about his work and upcoming exhibition in Paris, we were invited to select our shoe size from a mass of white sneakers, beckoning to be renovated. Things were set to get messy, and I was totally up for it. Squeezing gloops of paint onto my palette while analysing my chosen color scheme, it occurred to me how refreshing it was to have the opportunity to let loose inside such a pristine, well-appointed environment. A luxury within luxury.

Once each shoe had been rendered according to our own direction, the party admired each other’s’ work, laying the pairs out en masse. An exuberant assortment of multi-colored kicks in vivid blues, startling yellows, dainty pinks and lush greens illuminated the dim glow of the Andaz foyer. The Andaz hotel assembled the creations into a collective artwork that was displayed temporarily that weekend, elevating the group into an exhibiting artist collab. And so concluded Andaz Salon night number one.

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Returning a few weeks later, I ascended to the 51st floor, this time to view a Christmas tree installation, a collaborative work by French paper artist Marianne Guély, world renowned fifth-generation Japanese paper supplier Takeo Co., Ltd, and Japanese traditional Yuzen engraver Takeshi Nishimura. Standing at the entrance to the event, the magnificent tree stood on a bed of moss, a commonplace element in a Japanese rock gardens. The installation was illuminated from within, allowing soft light to permeate through what must have been hundreds of gold paper discs, each hand engraved by Nishimura with their own unbelievably intricate design. The tone had been set—I was being prepped to experience a dramatic amalgamation of East-meets-West, and to my surprise the grandiose displays didn’t end there.

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Inside, yet another impressive, grandiose display demanded immediate attention, this time of the edible variety. Festive fresh strawberry lollipops, slices of German Christmas stollen, and fresh cream eclairs were laid out on a table covered entirely with soft peaks of meringue resembling snow, topped with Japanese lanterns and a Japanese bonsai. A Christmas scene in true Andaz style, traditional yet idiosyncratic, modern yet invigorated by the past, and gracefully considered down to the last miniscule detail.

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After tinkering with hand engraving under the watchful eye of Nishimura, the charismatic, obliging Kyoto-raised master, I prepared to exit the delightful Andaz Salon fantasy world. On my way out, accompanied by the aromatic scent of gluhwein distilled in the air, a member of the Andaz team stopped me and politely handed over a ticketed canvas bag. “Are you Juliette? Thank you for coming, don’t forget your painted shoes.” My bad, how could I forget. Luckily that sort of seamlessness is ordinary for The Andaz, and my shoes and I journeyed home together.

The Andaz Salon creates an experience for every sense—if you don’t come with an open mind you will certainly leave with one. The calibre of international artists and speakers is high, and there is plenty of opportunity to get close to the various mediums and the experts who wield them. Despite the difficult undertaking, the Andaz Tokyo has managed to refine inspiration into an art unto itself.

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To read more about Andaz Salon and see what events are coming up, please click here.

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