My boyfriend and I aren't the marrying kind — we already declared our love for each other at City Hall, at the impossibly romantic domestic-partnership bureau, for the impossibly romantic reason of health insurance — but if we were, I'd drag him all the way to Sendai, Japan, to the Voyagesta Chapel: one of the coolest little bridal halls around.
Voyagesta is the perfect chapel for people who'd rather gouge their eyes out than subject their friends and family (and, above all, themselves) to a froufrou wedding. For starters, it's in a Best Western. Not a fancy resort. Not a country club. A mediocre chain hotel. (Can't get less froufrou than that!) And yet, the designers, Tokyo-based Moment Design, somehow managed to turn the hall into a lovely, sui generis monument to minimalism.
The central motif here is a diamond pattern, which covers just about every last inch of the chapel, both inside and out, from the hallway to the backdrop of the altar. Why diamonds? To signify beauty? Perpetuity" Naw, the designers, say, they're to evoke "ships... floating on the sea." Oh, OK. Diamonds symbolize sails, sails symbolize voyages, marriage is a voyage. Ya' get it" It took us a sec, too.
Well, anyway, they look awfully nice done up in neutral colors. The architects even managed to throw in some bling — Swarovski crystals on a not-too-big cross — without tackying up the place. The whole thing looks like a mashup of Le Corb's Chapel of Nôtre Dame du Haut and A Little White Wedding Chapel — with some Alice in Wonderland thrown in. And we mean that, of course, in the best possible way.