Sake Dojo in Los Angeles’ historic Little Tokyo neighbourhood gets inked in an unexpected way. Wick Architecture & Design + LAND Design Studio use the ancient art of Japanese tattooing to accomplish this… Deemed the largest Japan-town in the United States, the National Historic Landmark District boasts scores of traditional Japanese specialty-food restaurants. As Little Tokyo’s latest dining and drinking hot spot, Sake Dojo captures the vibe of a modern Tokyo establishment, while exploring the ancient art of Japanese tattooing as its dominant design motif. |
In homage to Sake Dojo’s “Japanese forward” culinary spirit, designers David Wick and Andrew Lindley - fuse their impressions of Tokyo, from the traditional and modern to the humorous, and even, fantastical. This lends the interiors with a fresh and vibrant vibe and expresses the cohesion of their impressions with art and cultural objects at the core. It simultaneously pays homage to Japan’s worldwide reputation for exceptional tattoo art in a way that reframes the experience. By reimagining the scale of its application to beyond life-size, the designers take the art from personal expression to a sensorial group experience.
In the restaurant’s context, that experience becomes one of being enveloped by a “body suit,” this time with wood acting as the canvas instead of human skin, and wood grain deployed to mimic how ink sets on human skin. Collaborating with tattoo artist Horifuji and printer Michael Hill of A o S A, lenticular walls of tattoo art and light fill the space.
Featuring waves, water petals and Koi fish, the aquatic theme is articulated in the main dining area on a 26 ft-wide by 12 ft-high feature wall near the entrance and on a 15 ft-wide by 9 ft-high adjoining wall, before rising 5 feet above the bar and running its entire 50-ft length span. The sequencing of the perforated plywood panels goes beyond the merely decorative to the purposeful by housing lighting systems, covering mechanical diffusers, and containing HVAC above the bar. In the restaurant’s private dining room, floor-to-ceiling sliding perforated panels continue the design motif, cleverly enclosing the room and providing dappled views inside and out.
Throughout the designers layer a tongue-in-cheek environment with vintage décor that includes a series of American movie posters in Japanese, including Life Aquatic and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as well as vintage cameras, sake bottles and Japanese cookbooks. In the expansive bar area, which is Sake Dojo’s claim to fame, an expanded steel liquor cage and generously-sized bar amplify the Sake theme, where guests can order more than 120 varieties on tap.
The effect overall - a high-design environment with a welcoming, energetic and urban vibe -is exactly what Sake Dojo’s proprietors envisioned.
check out the visuals on indiaartndesign.com
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