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Akachōchin’s New Restaurant Has Patrons Seeing Red

Evoking the style of a classic Japanese izakaya, the small space conjures a big mood thanks to dramatic, red illumination

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COINED AN “unorthodox retreat,” the restaurant Akachochin (New Delhi), located in India’s bustling capital city, brings Pan-Asian flavors and cuisine along with the vigor of izakayas – the name for Japanese informal bars and a word that translates to “stay saké shop.”

Akachōchin’s New Restaurant Has Patrons Seeing RedTHIS IMAGE: Bathed in red illumination, the interior of Akachochin restaurant and its Gonzo bar reflects the style of a classic Japanese izakaya.

Charged with the design for the restaurant and bar was New Delhi-based Studio Dangg, which worked to capture the essence of and pay homage to Japan’s age-old street bars, as well as curating a space for casual conversations and meals. Situated at a small 1000 square feet, the team embraced this as a positive to enhance the “cozy and casual nature,” of the customer experience.

“Considering the size, and the tapering form of the site, the play of ‘solid and void’ that has been inculcated in the space to concoct sneak-peak moments, was a challenge that we had to very creatively work around,” says Manav Dangg, Principal Architect, Studio Dangg.

Akachōchin’s New Restaurant Has Patrons Seeing Red 📷 Niveditaa Gupta

Inviting, warm and eye-catching crimson paper lanterns, or akachochins (a known element of southeastern Asia bar-lined streets), give the space its name and were an inspiration for the façade of the restaurant and its bar, dubbed “Gonzo.” Reinterpreted for modern times, the design team opted to use red neon lighting in place of paper lanterns. The red signage as well as red neon highlighting its balcony are hard to miss, and was strategically placed in an effort to catch potential passersby’s attention.

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Akachōchin’s New Restaurant Has Patrons Seeing Red

According to Studio Dangg, typical izakayas are located in yokochos, cramped alleyways that are lined with dozens of bars. They’re usually demarcated from their surroundings by crude gray brickwork, and bold, red lighting on the interiors. Taking this as inspiration, Studio Dangg primarily used gray materials for the exterior and bathed the interior in red illumination. Elements found throughout are presented in their “raw form,” without layering or cladding – a conscious decision, says Dangg, in order to impart the “ad-hoc nature” of an authentic Japanese street bar.

Akachōchin’s New Restaurant Has Patrons Seeing RedABOVE: Red neon lighting seen throughout the restaurant’s balcony and exterior replace traditional, red akachochin paper lanterns that you may find outside typical Japanese street bars.

The transition from the interior to the outdoor balcony is also marked by a change in material, where guests walk through a set of French windows with an industrial aesthetic – another nod to the idea of construction using found objects and supplies. Steel overhangs shrouding the balcony, or chhajjas, add to the “found materials” concept.

The interior of the restaurant’s Gonzo bar was designed specifically to evoke a feeling of being out and about, and its exterior is marked by the use of gray pavers and rugged wall cladding, while exposed brickwork supports the interior. The polarity and combination of these materials effortlessly blurs the line between the indoors and outdoors, providing the sense of “being out on the street.”

Akachōchin’s New Restaurant Has Patrons Seeing RedTHIS PAGE: Tactile materials like red tile, rugged wall cladding and gray pavers create a sense of authenticity throughout the restaurant and bar.

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Dangg references some sneak-peak moments that include a cut-out created for the balcony allowing people from the street to take a quick peek inside, as well as an “internal portal” which was created to access the restrooms.

“The space effortlessly transitions from being a bistro for a quick catch-up over lunch to a speakeasy in the evening, perfect for energized conversations over drinks post-work,” says Dangg. “The overarching ambience of the bar, which goes by the name of Gonzo, remains easy-going and unpretentious, silently encouraging patrons to settle in and lose track of time.”

PHOTO GALLERY (22 IMAGES)
📷 Niveditaa Gupta

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