Location, location, location: for soon-to-be weds, chief among wedding planning decisions is where the ceremony will take place.

Indoors or outdoors? Local or destination?

In Japan, a futuristic new chapel lends itself as a worthwhile contender.

Water and greenery lend the venue an outdoor vibe as much as an indoor one. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)
Water and greenery lend the venue an outdoor vibe as much as an indoor one. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

The Cloud of Luster Chapel is a futuristic yet elegant indoor-outdoor wedding venue, designed to resemble clouds perched lightly on water.

The graceful structure, part of the La-Vienne Wedding Ceremony Hall in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, is designed by Japanese firm KTX archiLAB to replace the former Aile-Blanche Chapel. The 2,630sqft venue features a curvacious covered pathway leading up to the main chapel, an all-white one-storey building dominated by curves.

Among other light sources in the venue, void of technical wirings and setups, is the backlit centre aisle. In Japan, the aisle is also known as the
Among other light sources in the venue, void of technical wirings and setups, is the backlit centre aisle. In Japan, the aisle is also known as the 'Virgin Road'. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

Inside the venue, which can accommodate about 100 guests, are minimalistic pews and an altar, with a backlit aisle down the centre. An organ and the technical room are hidden in curved white walls at the back.

With curved glass enclosing the main venue, the Cloud of Luster easily doubles as an outdoor venue, with daylight illuminating the room alongside full views of the water and garden.

Perched on the water, the Cloud of Luster Chapel appears to float. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)
Perched on the water, the Cloud of Luster Chapel appears to float. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

Lighting also comes by way of the backlit aisle floor and the lights around the columns. Meanwhile, slits along the glass curves serve the venue’s air-conditioning.

When the sun is out, the water feature lends the dazzling additional effect of reflecting movement onto the chapel ceiling – which, among other visible areas of the chapel including the walls, sports no technical details or wiring.

As well as the curved glass enclosure, the chapel
As well as the curved glass enclosure, the chapel's columns likewise feature curved details in connecting fluidly to the ceiling above. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

In bringing the project to life, KTX head architect-designer Tetsuya Matsumoto says each step of the process encountered its own unique challenges.

“Sketching the concept posed the question of how a chapel – specifically built for wedding ceremonies – can reflect its function, the importance of the wedding day, and the spirit of the wedding ceremony,” says Matsumoto. “How can a building be transformed into an atmosphere?”

The covered pathway from the main hall to the chapel ensures every couple
The covered pathway from the main hall to the chapel ensures every couple's special day does not get interrupted in case of rain. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

“Once the primary ideas were set, the challenge was to try to reduce the construction cost, especially for the curved glass. Some technical details for the roof and flooring were also challenging for their novelty.”

Indeed the novel venue, likely to attract couples with a preference for a cross of elegant, mimalist, and futuristic motifs, features a host of unique traits.

Subtle elevations along the pathway were specially considered for group photos outside the chapel, allowing for a multi-level setup. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)
Subtle elevations along the pathway were specially considered for group photos outside the chapel, allowing for a multi-level setup. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

“One of the key features that’s probably difficult to notice with bare eyes, even when visiting the space, is that all the glass curves have the same radius,” describes Matsumoto. “The reason behind this is to standardise the production of the glass to reduce its cost.”

The pews, as well as the altar, feature minimal, all-white details. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)
The pews, as well as the altar, feature minimal, all-white details. (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

“Other features that could be noticed by a more attentive observer is that the ceiling is free of any technical pieces of machinery – no lighting and no air-conditioning.”

KTX archiLAB
KTX archiLAB's head architect-designer, Tetsuya Matumoto, describes the chapel's reflection in the water as "visually satisfying". (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

“The moulding for the concrete-made shapes was difficult to perfect on the site,” as well. “We had to ask a carpenter specialising in Japanese shrines and temples to produce such a complicated form – and they delivered with perfection.”

Says Matsumoto: "We love the curves – the round bases of the chapel on the water basin – and their balance. They add a great deal into the light and organic appearance of the chapel." (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)
Says Matsumoto: "We love the curves – the round bases of the chapel on the water basin – and their balance. They add a great deal into the light and organic appearance of the chapel." (Photo: Stirling Elmendorf, courtesy of KTX archiLAB)

See more: Hoshinoya Tokyo: Authentic Japan in the Heart of the City

Himeji Cloud of Luster Japan Hyogo Prefecture KTX archiLAB

Related Articles

The Latest

An Ultra-Chic New York City Penthouse With a Pool to Match
Lighting Designer Tino Kwan’s Exquisite Home Shines with Charm and Elegance
Inside a Tranquil Residence in Taiwan that Mimics a Treehouse
A Soothing Fireplace-Adorned Family Retreat in Iran
A Newly Revitalised East London Penthouse Drenched In Light
3 Of The Coolest Co-Living Spaces You Can Find in Hong Kong