The artistry of sushi making is almost as mouthwatering and beautiful as the delectable cuisine itself. Designers from Chute Gerdeman sought to capitalize on that artistry when creating a hip, modern environment for Jinsei (meaning “life” in Japanese), a sushi restaurant in Birmingham, Ala. The design won an honorable mention in the Sit-Down Restaurant category in the ISP/VM+SD International Store Design Competition.
To redefine diners’ impression of a sushi restaurant, and to echo the deliberate presentation of finely prepared sushi, designers turned to modern materials, clean lines and splashes of color.
Taking cues from traditional sushi ingredients, designers chose a wasabi green color to stand out on the walls, chairs, and lounge stools and in the restaurant’s new logo. A transparent beaded wallpaper, referencing tiny fish eggs, covers the curved soffit. And a black booth wraps around most of the restaurant, from the lounge area through the dining room, like seaweed wrapping a roll.
Rich chocolate and reddish tiger woods were used for the flooring, tables, bar and walls. Bamboo, a common element in sushi restaurant decor, was given a modern twist by as a transparent screen separating the restaurant dining area from the sushi bar and as an illuminated mat above the dining area.
Client: Zoe’s Kitchen U.S.A., Birmingham, Ala. – John Cassimus, president and ceo
Design: Chute Gerdeman, Columbus, Ohio – Elle Chute, principal; Lori Mukoyama, creative director environments; Glennon Schaffner, program director design development; Jodi Backes, project manager; Carmen Costinescu, colors and materials; Asako Maruyama, graphic designer; Kyle Barker, floor planning and presentation
Architect: CG Architecture, Columbus, Ohio
General Contractor: Bradford Building Co., Birmingham, Ala.
Outside Design Consultant and Engineer: M-Retail Engineering Inc., Westerville, Ohio
Audio/Visual: Audio Video Excellence Inc., Homewood, Ala.
Ceilings: Safari Thatch, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Fabrics: Donghia Inc., Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Rosul & Associates, Lakewood, Ohio
Unika Vaev, Powell, Ohio
Flooring: Junckers Hardwood Inc., Anaheim, Calif.
Furniture: Hall Weir & Associates, Atlanta
Glass: 3Form, Salt Lake City
Lighting: Lighting Management Inc., Harriman, N.Y.
Design Lighting Group, Chicago
Millwork: S&G Manufacturing Group, Columbus, Ohio
Paint: ICI Design & Construction, Toronto
Special Finishes: Brookside Veneers Ltd., Cranbury, N.J.
Tile: Waterworks, Danbury, Conn.
Photography: Jason Wallis, Birmingham, Ala.