An evocation of the East
The Japanese restaurant Kaori, designed by the practice sgsm studio, combines traditional Japanese cuisine with an atmosphere that architects Sabrina Gallini and Simone Marchiorato describe as «a space in which the abstraction of geometry and the reality of matter remain suspended in an in(de)finite time».
Starting out from a high, open-plan space dominated on two sides by large windows, the architects aimed to create an environment in which each element would interact with the light and capture the observer’s gaze in a play of visual references and allusions. The practice, which describes itself as a laboratory of ideas working in various fields, displayed its multifaceted creativity with the design of an elegant yet informal, flexible and visually striking space.
Within the symphony of elements chosen to play as an ensemble, it is perhaps the so-called «suspended rooms» that are the first to capture the observer’s attention. Resembling large, irregularly shaped baskets, they are in fact structures made of an extremely lightweight nautical wood that are partly suspended and partly supported on iron pillars. They create a texture described by the designers as «literally woven in an alternation of wood and brass structures according to an interlocking play of non-random geometry, infinitely repeated in variable directions». These sinuous structures serve as a key visual element both during the day and at night and filter the natural light and the illumination from the lighting fixtures housed inside them, while at the same time creating an aerial space that generates blueprints for three potential scenarios. The reference to Japanese architecture, and in particular to wooden screens and woven baskets, is merely hinted at, avoiding literary quotations in favour of allusions that encapsulate its values.
The upper, aerial level of the room also dialogues with the lower section through «clusters of brass tubes that emit a warm and strictly directional light, illuminating the tables and creating small exclusive areas». This upper section interacts effectively with the lower, more terrestrial area, which plays an equally important role in diversifying spaces and sensations through the surface finishes and the various golden hues of the different materials. One of these is the exquisite floor and wall tiling consisting of Alabastri di Rex ceramic slabs, a collection from Florim Ceramiche inspired by prestigious natural stone. The reflective capacity of this glossy surface, chosen in the honey coloured hue of Miele, makes a vital contribution to the project’s play of reflections, which is also generated by the brass surfaces of the chandeliers, the golden frames of the chairs and the mirrors covering the counters. This striking but not excessive play of reflections is balanced by the matt texture of the fabric on the upper section of the walls, by Florim’s Prexious of Rex satin finished porcelain slabs used for the table tops, by the wood of the «suspended rooms» and by the acoustic ceiling.
Alabastri di Rex