TEMPURA ICHIDAI • ALA MOANA SHOPPING CENTER
Designing around the concept of chefs serving cooked to order tempura directly to customers, the layout required the kitchen to be open and efficient enough to allow chefs easy mobility and direct access to many customers at one time. The design intention was also to offer guests a restful dining experience, a place of sanctuary, away from the bustling mall crowd. A solution was developed by dividing the restaurant in half, creating two separate open kitchens, each with two tempura stations that mirrored with an aisle in the middle. The seating areas surround the perimeters of the open kitchens and allow the food preparer and servers quick access to the guests. Both counter and booth seating was incorporated to accommodate small and larger parties of guests.
To unify the space, strong linear and architectural design elements were adopted throughout the restaurant that take a traditional Japanese aesthetic, re-imagined through a modern perspective. Multi-layered wooden slats appear to float above the counters seating for spatial depth and play of light and shadow. The use of wood slats was a constant motif and integrated in the booth stall design, furniture design, and interior design. The repeating wood slats become intricate and convey strength and solidity. To emphasize the natural quality of the wood, various materials were selected to provide contrast in texture and finish. Natural stone, ceramic tile, and hand-applied textures were used to express a delicate contrast in materiel and texture. The elements together further create a sense of solidity and harmony within the space.