This project is the result of some unconsciousness mixed with a lot of admiration. The unconsciousness came from the side of the clients, Neus and Kenji of Can Kenji team, commissioning his new Japanese restaurant “izakaya” to a team that had never designed a restaurant and not even been in Japan. The admiration is ours to a culture as unknown as admired.
Which one is our Japan? The one of the videogames and the lights of Tokio, the Japan of Frank Lloyd Wright, in the mood for love, their admired tradition of periodically rebuilt some temples to preserve the touch and smell for its sensorial perception, the House of Sugimoto and of course In Praise with Shadows of Tanizaki.
All of that, without any order or ambition, joint to a healthy obsession for the Atmospheres of Peter Zumthor had end to be AIUEnO. Later came the 85cm jump from the street to the inside, that’s when the toilets started to play making a virtue of disadvantage moving from almost the bottom space to the front assuming the allegorical and light prominence of the restaurant and at the same time providing the essential accessibility.
The materials? Oak, the Shōji, carpet at the expense of tatami, the ceramic and the lighting, of shines more than lights… insinuations dancing so quite all over the space, at different highs, with golden reflections and a dark blue body, almost black.
To seat down 2 bars, the first one panoramic in descending diagonal towards the other one, connecting visually what the preexistence separated; and 2 tables, one protected (almost hidden) and the other shared, with 13 legs just in case.
But it wasn’t til 1 month before the opening, when Kenji and his team castled inside the kitchen behind a plastic membrane, that we returned to our place. The art of AIUEnO happens between fires and we have just built the air around the delightful quality of his dishes. Bon Appétit… Itadakimasu!