Japanese restaurants are typically quite predictable. They usually attempt to be very authentic in terms of design and relatively formal. Spatially, they consist of a proportionally small public eating area vs. a larger area dedicated to numerous private rooms. Wood lattices, sliding doors and rice paper screens abound. The ubiquitous sense of Japanese order is felt through the staff.

The design sought to make the dining experience far more casual, social and energetic, while still being distinctly Japanese. Having traveled to Japan many times, the designers sought to bring back some of the memories and experiences from their favorite spaces, but expressed through a new vision. Having worked with the clients many times before, A00 was given an enormous amount of design freedom which also proved necessary given the extremely compact timeline.

With this in mind, the plan was kept completely open, in particular the second floor. The feature elements are a large bamboo 'rock' that anchors the sushi bar on the ground floor, and the uber long common table that commands the second floor. Only a few tatami zones were created, but keeping in spirit with the rest of the design, they were also kept open.

The warmth and geometry provided by the usual wood screens was referenced through the duo-tone bamboo paneling on the walls, cut to create a classic geometric pattern. The over-sized scale of the pattern was designed to make the space feel larger and more generous.
In typical Japanese fashion, the materials were kept honest. All the warm elements were exclusively done with bamboo paneling and contrasted against the cooler exposed brick and concrete. This contrast was also carried through to the textural level, with rough and random surfaces set against perfectly smooth ones.
Special attention was also placed on choosing ecologically preferable materials. This was important not only in terms of personal responsibility, but also in terms of being able to open immediately, without having the clientele be turned off by weeks of chemical off-gassing.

The design was built mostly from a series of concept sketches and a clear material palette. The result is familiar yet extremely fresh. It is ordered yet extremely playful. Last but not least, it is also important to note that the venue's focus is sustainable sushi. Careful attention
is given to the types of fish served and where they come from. Moreover, full details on the origin of the fish can be found in the back of the menu.


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