When asked to to redesign the interior of his favourite Japanese restaurant in Rome, Carlo Berarducci wanted the Temples of Kyoto to form his basis. The temples of Kyoto are traditionally red-orange and black, built overlooking the city. Immersed in the vegetation on the hills, they can be reached by walkways that form red-orange and black gateways, tunnelling through the forest.
The ‘torii’ or gateways of a Shinto shrine inspired much of the interior design for Berarducci Architecture. From the outset a space with the colours of Kyoto was created, and when presented with just a sketch of the project and a photo of Fushimi Inari (the head shrine) the owners found an immediate enthusiasm for the idea.
The project went ahead, with the idea of redefining the spaces by identifying the different natures and uses. Creating partitions and walls with vertical elements with lacquered wood, vertical cladding, reflecting suspended ceilings, black marble walls, and backlit rice paper walls. Each partition element is a third black wood and lacquer and two-thirds of the special red-orange, like the colouring used in traditional Kyoto temple walls.
False ceilings are created using suspended PVC which has been polished in glossy Kyoto with the same bold colours. The false ceilings define each of the different areas- separating the entrance and the waiting areas, the seating and the bar.
The same marble, with a brushed finish as worn by time, was used to make the reception desk and the sushi bar, as massive blocks of quarry resting on the floor. Black floors and ceilings cancel the spatial box, leaving just the suspended ceilings and the fiery red-orange walls. The space reveals multiple scenes in an environment where you can’t fully perceive the entire spatial envelope.
The grilled black-orange accompany paths, filtering environments without dividing them, and identifying the areas with the tables. Full-height, polished black marble walls are used as backdrops to oppose the reflective walls. Two wall-to-ceiling marble marquinia polished panels form the backdrop to the entrance area and the largest dining room, where the marble wall continues along the staircase leading to the bathrooms downstairs.
A wall of backlit rice paper between two sheets of glass creates a focal point of the room. The central focus of the restaurant is the Kaiten and the open workstation of the sushi master.
Images © Fernando Guerra
Zen Sushi is an entry to this years Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. Click here to view all the entries.