The first branch of Kemuri to be opened in Hongqiao, China, following its decade-long presence in Japan, brings the popular restaurant concept to new customers in the largest city in China, and is designed by Prism Design. The restaurant’s full title, Edomae Robatayaki-Kemuri, which means ‘fireside cooking’, is shortened to ‘Kemuri’ for everyday use, and this translates closely to the word ‘smoke’ in English.
Giving the restaurant a mystical feel, the ‘smoke’ theme is enhanced by the simple yet effective lighting, designed specifically to highlight the endlessly different smoke patterns, and to create the perfect ambience for dining. All the lighting is LED, in order to conserve energy, and keep the restaurant’s environmental footprint low.
The owners of Kemuri desired a design that would be immediately recognisable as Asian by people in the rest of the world, and chose the film ‘Kill Bill’ as their inspiration, along with representing ‘Kemuri’ as smoke, through the design process.
The film is striking in its visual presentation, and to further reinforce this, the entire external window façade is lit in red – the national colour of both China and Japan, which symbolises here. the willingness for cultural interaction between the two nations.
Kemuri smoke patterns were also observed by the designers, who have interpreted the changing forms within the space using light and hemp rope, as a 3D artwork. Hemp ropes and their shadows and silhouettes were also reminiscent of traditional Japanese temples and the illumination of houses.
Light is minimal at the entrance to Kemuri, in order to increase the customers’ anticipation of the inner dining space and the hemp and lighting installation. Inside, a soft and natural lighting ambience has been achieved by softening the brightness of the LED lights.
The chef cooks in the centre of the restaurant, and this area is illuminated the most, to create a stage-like space.
Images © Prism Design / Nacasa & Partners Inc.