Jean-Philippe Nuel is the designer and architect behind the new Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido snow resort in Japan. Passionate about creativity, and with a particular desire to work on projects of all scales, from architecture to design, Jean-Philippe Nuel sees each project as a human adventure, rich in encounters and exchange. Very quickly, before turning 30, he had designed a hotel in Paris, its architecture and interior decoration, which would orientate his work towards this sector of activity.
#1. What was the overall concept that you had in mind when designing Club Med Tomamu?
I tried to create a unique signature for this project: the decor is directly inspired by the Japanese culture and especially the Hokkaïdo island, where mountains are the natural environment of the site. Plus, of course, [I tried to bring to life] the Club Med spirit, as it is a brand with a very strong DNA.
#2. Part of what you bring to your design is a sense of place. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you most about Tomamu’s natural and cultural surroundings, and how this translated into your design?
I love Japanese culture and I already had the chance to work in projects in Tokyo and Osaka - one has even been awarded by the Japanese Society of Commercial Space Designer. This culture blends both refinement and simplicity, and it inspires me a lot. Mother Nature also inspired me. It is always present both in the traditional and modern Japan.
#3. What is your favourite part of the resort in Tomamu, and why?
I really like the [Resort] center with its bar. This place is home to the peppy and lively spirit that expresses the Club Med’s identity. My design tries to bring this peppy and very friendly atmosphere to life through architecture.
#4. What experience are you hoping people will have when they stay at Club Med Tomamu?
I do hope that guests will live a unique experience focused on nature, sports and also with a human touch.
#5. You also designed the cozy Club Med Peisey-Vallandry in the French Alps. What are the main differences and similarities you experienced when designing the modern resort of Tomamu, compared to designing the chalet-style resort of Peisey-Vallandry?
For each project, I do think that focusing on the specificities of the site is essential. By site, I mean the country, the region, but also the architecture of the premises. For Peisey-Vallandry, we were in the French Alps, and more precisely in the Tarentaise Valley, and in the Alps, each valley has its own architectural tradition. I have made some research not to copy or reproduce this particular architectural style, but to find the spirit of the place through its materials and their implementation.
#6. What’s your favourite part of a resort to create and why?
I really care of the arrival area, because it immediately plunges the guests in the atmosphere of the resort. We could compare this to the very first cuts of a movie, that carry us to another reality. And for a resort, thanks to the experience the guest will live during his stay, they will continue to write the story of its own movie.
#7. And finally, which is your favourite Club Med resort to stay at?
I really like the Club Med Gregolimano in Greece (that I have refurbished). The site is so outstanding, especially when you arrive there by boat: there is all the magic in the holidays spent in the Mediterranean countries.
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