The Story of SLPer — our hero capsule.

SLPer, (‘sleeper’) was first inspired by the beds in the sleeping cabins on the trains, on which I traveled through Europe in my twenties.

I was an architecture graduate student then. I was visiting one great architecture after another, to learn from the masters, to admire the works that, arguably, defines our civilization. And then I felt a profound emptiness in the realization that to 99% of the people living in this world, this Architecture with a capital ‘A’ is unreachable. They are building Arts that, when they are good, inspire hopes, create delight, and uplift the spirits. …

My encounter with Toryo Ito-san, the Zen Monk of Ryosoku-in, Kyoto, Japan, and the meditation on fashion.

Image for post
Image for post

When I first met Toryo Ito-san, I was with our team of X.O.s (eXperience Officers from SLEEEP) on a Research Retreat (as Japanese would call it a 研修.) The elegance of the setting and Toryo-san’s approachable guided meditation left a strong impression on me. I introduced myself to Toryo-san, and we exchanged our contacts. Little did we know that a year later, I would become the first (experimental) lived-in ‘artist’-in-residence at Ryosokuin, and we would become very close friends.

Monks in general have very specific fashions. The way the Zen monks dress in Japan, like the way Japanese do tea, or flowers, or many otherwise normal practices, are sophisticated to say the least. The translucent layers, the 90% black with a glimpse of bright white, the weaving of the ropes with subtle use of shimmering threads, ever so thoughtful, every so detailed. …

SLEEEP, the wellness+R.E. tech start-up best known to date for its Capsule Living Network, is collaborating with the visionary Zen Monk Ito Toryo to launch a new meditation experience: 雲是 Cloud Sitting

Image for post
Image for post

8 x 30

An inaugural meditation series: 8 morning-sittings of 20–30 minutes each, led by the Zen Monk, Vice-abbot of Ryosoku-in, moderated by the co-founder of SLEEEP, situated in the oldest Zen-temple of Kyoto, delivered on the cloud, conducted in Japanese + English.

The series is designed for anyone who wishes to find more peace and mindfulness and to meet virtually with a global community amid this morbid time. …

Introducing SLEEEP.bkk.silom

SLEEEP.bkk.silom is situated at Silom Soi 1, 2 minutes from BTS Sala Daeng station.
SLEEEP.bkk.silom is situated at Silom Soi 1, 2 minutes from BTS Sala Daeng station.
SLEEEP.bkk.silom is situated at Silom Soi 1, 2 minutes from BTS Sala Daeng station.

Converted from a 5-story townhouse with a mezzanine, situated 2 minutes from the Sala Daeng BTS station, SLEEEP.silom.bkk is SLEEEP’s major international expansion and a significant milestone for this hospitality-technology start-up. Introducing our very own SPAAA on the street level, this building experience takes guests from their exhausting travel all the way into their sweet dreams.

The design of the space follows the distilled spatial design language of SLEEEP, termed Minimalist / Wabi-Sabi, where the focus is placed on the essences of the space, and decorations are stripped down to the minimum. The history of the building and the artifacts within, where appropriate, are kept and cherished, expressing their age and unadorned honesty. …

Basel, Powered by SLEEEP

Image for post
Image for post

This old Swiss town along the Rhine has a population of mere 180,000, sits so close to Germany that one could take a bus to have a German dinner, grab some grocery and back on a normal evening. It is home to classical European cathedrals as well as avant-Garde architectural expressions. Few times a year, the exquisite exhibits come together in this town to turn it from its usual relaxed quietude into a world-wide attraction.

This is Basel. This is also where the first international Powered by SLEEEP deployment landed.

In a spacious apartment along the old city-wall, our bespoke (patented, Red-Dot award-winning) SLPers sit quietly in a bedroom, receiving guests and providing good sleeps as I write this. …

Basel 2019.6.13

Few kilometers away from the festivities of the Art Basel, a tranquil, quiet, and restful piece of installation finds its space in a vacant apartment in the center of Basel.

SLEEEP — the Hong Kong Sleep Tech Start-up committed to building a sustainable culture through quality sleep — collaborates with Hong Kong Artist Wendy Tai to set up this unusual piece in an unusual space, right next to their first international ‘outpost’, where a pop-up capsule hotel ‘Powered by SLEEEP’, featuring four SLPers, has been deployed. SLPer is an award-winning smart sleeping capsule that features a Responsive Environmental Modulator (R.E.M.) …

A: “Should we turn right here?”

J: “Wait, it should be right there… but it’s not.”

A: “The map is wrong.”

J: “I think the destination address is wrong. It’s the same street in a different city.”

A: “…OK, you’re right.”

J: “Let’s pull over, get it right.”

….. (input correct address)

J: “Great, now we are on the right track, but we are even further behind schedule.”

Image for post
Image for post

This conversation¹ happened the day after we received our Y-combinator interview and did not get the call. We messed up with our navigation (being over-reliant on GPS and Siri etc.) …

Why on earth do all XOs (eXperience Officers) at SLEEEP wear white shoes? Isn’t that impractical and unsustainable?

When we were young, part of our school uniforms for P.E. (Physical Education, i.e. Sports/playground time) were the inevitable white canvas shoes. White, spotless, no logos, no ornaments, no graphics, just plain old canvas shoes. I used to wonder, why, of all the colorful sneakers I saw in the score of sneaker stores, do we have to settle with those bland, boring white shoes? Needless to say, they get dirty after practically every use. …

Image for post
Image for post

“Remember that it was not too long ago when the paper, the silk, the ceramics that came from China were considered the best in the world.” Professor Edoardo Currà from the Sapienza University of Rome told me, as I shared with him a simple but inspiring dream a long time friend have had years ago. The dream was that one day “Made in China” would have the same prestige as “Made in Italy”.

This fall weekend in October I was invited to speak at a conference at Nanjing University, and this opportunity took me to this city for the first time in my life. My impression of the city as I was traveling from the airport to my hotel: “What a green city!” The trees that lined the streets were dense and broad, their roots going deep; The building walls and highway columns were coated with green healthy ivies, the developments were spaced by spans of greens; the experiments in flood resilience infrastructure are broad and deep, the prevalence of IoT applications is all-around. None of these fit the description of chaotic growth; None of these matched the image of a polluted, smoggy, scrappy, low-grade concrete-filled Chinese urbanism. …

A brief memoir of a departed family.

Image for post
Image for post

I have known her for but a few years, and in those years our interactions were limited. My comprehension of her dialect, when we conversed, was low. We grew up in gravely different worlds, separated, we could say, by geography, culture, language, and time.

She was born between the two wars–the second of which our two countries were enemies–in a time quite different from today. It was in a time when electricity had not entered the domestic life, when telephones a privilege for the riches, when food was scarce, when, certainly by today’s standard, life was hard. She grew up in a remote village in Shizuoka, Japan, where rice and tea leafs were the proud produce of the region. …


Jun Rivers

All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store