The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo

It says a lot about a company when it’s first customer is Frank Lloyd Wright!

Our tile manufacturer, INAX of Japan, is one of the few able to make such a statement.

The old Imperial Hotel — completed in 1923 — was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most renowned architects of the 20th century. He produces a dramatic environment of captivating shadows, created by both natural and artificial light, intricate geometric wall patterns, and high ceilings; a venue fit for foreign dignitaries and luminaries. Notable architectural elements included yellow tiles, terracotta, and Oya stone used in the building’s walls. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Japan saw a surge of Western-style red brick buildings. Wright, however, eschewed this trend, seeking out different materials from across Japan. Using the materials he found, Wright designed custom tiles and Oya stone constructions for the Imperial Hotel’s walls. Some of the tiles featured combed finishes that differed slightly in appearance from tile to tile. This design went on to have a significant impact on Japanese architecture, especially from the 1920s to the 1940s, during which Wright-inspired buildings cropped up throughout Japan.

The Hikkaki is a replica of the first tile produced for Frank.