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ISP/VM+SD Design Competition Winner



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.




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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