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MONDO ARC

Sushita Restaurant, Ancona, Italy

Issue 72 April / May 2013 : Retail : Restaurant

INTERIOR DESIGN: Solodesign Studio LIGHTING DESIGN: Stefano Dall’ Osso


Sushita, a new Japanese restaurant in Ancona, Italy, features an understated lighting design from Stefano Dall’ Osso which aspires towards ‘shibui’ , the Japanese term for uncluttered beauty.

Good sushi is all about timing; it is the serving of food at the right juncture and temperature, the rice at body temperature, the fish at room temperature and having the preparation skills to move at a swift pace. This means that the best sushi is served quickly, with some gold standard restaurants whisking you through fifteen courses in just twenty minutes.

In good sushi restaurants the itame is king, deep in concentration he doesn’t move his head, he twists from the waist, the centre of his gravity, producing food quickly while enveloped in calm. Once served you don’t add soy sauce and you don’t add extra wasabi, you take the fish as it comes, eating the parcel with your hands, in one bite or two, without returning the bundle to the plate. Good sushi is the summation of the Japanese word “shibui” used to describe refined simplicity; it is beauty free of the unnecessary.

Refined simplicity, depending on your tastes, makes for excellent interior design. The composition of new sushi restaurant Sushita in Ancona, Italy, follows this maxim while taking into consideration all the ancient principles of Japanese design, the respect for the inter-connection of all people and things, while sustaining a sense of rigour and calm.

The lighting designer, Stefano Dall’Osso, in partnership with interior design studio Solodesign, were responsible for turning this former discount computer shop into a Japanese restaurant with a distinctive feel.

The interior look as well as the lighting design for Sushita was developed with the aim of producing a peaceful and meditative atmosphere, a design which would encourage diners to fully immerse themselves in the simple beauty of Japanese culture and cuisine. The lighting scheme for the restaurant has been created using LED luminaires provided for the project by the Italian based compan B-Light, and the fixtures are controlled via an automation system that allows for the alteration of light levels and hues.

LED was favoured by the design team because of its ability to be integrated into the architecture without compromising the look of the design, while the energy saving element of LED technology was also considered desirable to the new restaurant.

The kaiten is the carousel centrepiece of any sushi restaurant, it was conceived in the late 1950s by restaurant owner Yoshiaki Shiraishi. While struggling to staff his busy eatery he was inspired by seeing beer rattling along a conveyor belt in a local brewery. His invention proved astonishingly pertinent, yet despite this, Shiraishi’s rotary sushi empire faded and he died in 2001 after blowing all his money trying to build a robot that prepared and served sushi in an attempt to regain his fortune.

The kaiten at Sushita is lit by 30 dimmable B-Light ‘Atlas R’ luminaires with recessed optics of 6W. The lights are disguised by rows of wooden sceptres that rain down from the ceiling like smoothed and varnished stalactites, and mirror the shape of the kaiten while resembling the inner-workings of a grand piano or an upended coconut shy.

The lighting is careful not to appear too industrial when blended with the silver plated moving parts of the kaiten, and instead a relaxed atmosphere is created, without the lighting being too soft so as to deny diners a good view of the food on the conveyer belt. The lights above the kaiten can also be dimmed in order to match the luminous intensity to the time of day, or to alter the light scenography for special occasions. It is intimacy measured against an obvious need for functionality.

In comparison to the more communal area around the kaiten, ten special lanterns have been designed for the dining room itself. Featuring LED technology (B-Light supplied “Linear 112 Slim’ luminaires) and a high CRI, the lamps have been designed principally for the comfort of the diner.

The form of the wooden ceiling lamps mirror the wooden pendants that ebb from above the kaiten, their wooden strips forming crafted wooden boxes, which disperse the light and seamlessly flow from the ceiling, another example of the interconnectivity which blend both lighting and interior design together.

The tables themselves have been outfitted with eighteen B-Light ‘Atlas’ recessed luminaires. Along the restaurant walls LED linear luminaires, also featuring high CRI, have been installed in order to compliment the colour scheme, which harks back to the traditional Japanese symbols, the rising sun and the koi carp, the brightly coloured fish that is traditionally found in Japanese water gardens, and is stencilled in larger that life form over the wallpaper opposite the kaiten.

These iconic oriental motifs are creatively blended into the particularly western interior design, emphasising the coming together of two cultures over good food.

In the functional areas of the restaurant, such as the kitchen, dressing room and staff rest room, that lie out of public view, industrial fluorescent lamps have been used, and with an IP65 rating they are well prepared for exposure to the steam and wet of a busy kitchen. The sushi preparation area has been lit with eleven B-Light ‘Atlas 60’ recessed luminaire modules, while the washroom features eight B-light “Atlas R” recessed modules and two B-Light “Stilo” luminaires.

The light fittings all have a high CRI rating with a colour temperature of 3000K, a level particularly convivial to the comfortable and cosy atmosphere required for any restaurant to be deemed pleasant of character.

The Japanese word ‘umami’ is often used in gastronomy to compliment ‘shibui’. It has no direct English translation, but can roughly be defined as the ‘basic essence of flavour’, a well rounded, delicious taste. The interior lighting design for Sushita takes elements of both words to create a restaurant that offers both the basic essence of the traditional sushi bar, twinned with a chic functionality and the uncluttered simplicity of western design.
www.solodesign.it
www.stefanodallosso.it

 

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