The design concept is inspired by the rhythmic passageways created by Japanese Tori gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine; ceremonial structures used to define thresholds to sacred spaces. Tori gates are donations from local merchants. These cultural references, gate-like elements, define the overall space layout, as well as support the tables, provide ambient lighting, and modulate circulation. The construction techniques deployed are similar to that of folk art folding techniques of Origami, also referred as the “paper of the spirits” to fabricate the gate structures. Fascinated by the shimmering effects of water and optical illusions, the ceiling beams have an illuminated pattern intended to give the sensation of bending and motion between the beams. The combination of optical illusions and offset placement of columns serve as a foil to the overall tunnel effect created by the proportions of the interior. Thus, the space allows for intimate encounters at window seats, or at the bar amongst the forest of columns, and collective experiences in the main dining hall.
Social encounters and groups determine the table geometry, arrangement, accessibility and locations. There are four types of tables along the window that corresponds to social groups of two, three and four. The tables and bar top are designed in such a way that positions the body in relation to one another so that an intimate conversation can emerge. The existing columns were limiting. With a tailored approach, columns were dressed with custom metal joints, working towards an architecture of ‘adjustments’, between the structural categories of beam and column, long or short.