Fire and WaterInspired by traditional banners used in Japanese Izakayas, the fabric divider was hand-painted by the ai3 design team. One side was a take on the blue wave (market side/fish/raw) and the other, a take on the rising sun (grilled dishes/robata/fire).
Nostalgic PlayfulnessThe concept of the engraved Sumo Wrestler was meant to be playful, but respectful of Japanese traditions and quality of food. The owner loved cartoon caricatures from his childhood memories, so a tattoo artist was commissioned to wood-burn a different Sumo Wrestler pose in the back of each of the sushi/robata bar stools.
Branding the SpaceDesigned with similar details reminiscent of the materials found within fish marketers’ apparel, the banquette back cushions bring another moment of unexpected detail to the restaurant lounge area. Curated memorabilia, toys, and action figures fill the “shadow box” cocktail tables that accompany the banquette seating.
Detail’s in the ScalesThe Private Dining Room utilized operable glass walls to create separation between it and the main dining areas. A fish scale pattern laser-cut on wood panels was created to further tell the narrative of the Izakaya restaurant. Some scales were left open, while others were infilled, to dial in the exact amount of transparency.
Authentically InspiredUsing elements of Japanese fishermen’s clothing, the design team designed a large custom tapestry with a traditional Japanese clothing repair technique, called “Boro”. To add additional interest and acknowledge that not only humans depend on the ocean’s fish, ai3 developed the idea of painting a large osprey with open wings directly on the fabric. The original osprey sketch was created using Sumi Ink by one of the design team members and then translated onto the fabric by a local Atlanta artist. The banquette below the tapestry is inspired by fishermen’s clothing and includes straw fishing hats, leather upholstery, and fishermen’s boots tucked in cubbies below the seats.
A Sculptural StatementHigh ceilings brought about a demand for a strong centralized statement within a portion of the dining space. ai3 wanted to incorporate the idea of fishing baskets and fishhooks, while keeping the statement piece raw and sculptural. The result was a large metal art piece that resembled the shape of a fish head, suspended from the ceiling above. From the outside of the restroom, the fish head becomes more apparent, while small detailed elements came to life the closer one gets. It includes hundreds of laser-cut fishhooks and a hand-blown glass fisheye all done by a commissioned artist.
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