If there is any beauty in destruction then it is found in shou sugi ban. This traditional Japanese method of weathering and preserving wood by charring became trendy in America over the past couple of years, and falls in line with a desire for aged decorative elements. But shou sugi ban’s rumpled black tarry finish has an element of chaos — something violent happened to this wood — and a mysterious Gothic quality. A good example of shou sugi ban is seen in the newly finished charred wood walling in the lobby lounge of the W Boston. Paired with granite columns, it is raw and earthy, yet suavely playful.
The newly added charred Japanese wood, along with the new “welcome pods” — a.k.a. the check-in desk — are the first elements guests see of the W’s recent renovation program. Higher up, in the guest rooms, beauty and destruction come together in a more dramatic scene.
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