Called Kaikaya, the restaurant’s plant-filled green and maroon interior celebrates the Brazilian-Japanese food culture that has been created in the hundred years since Japanese immigrants first started to arrive in Brazil.
Now home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan, Brazil has cultivated a distinctive Japanese–Brazilian cuisine that blends Japanese cooking techniques with local ingredients.
The fusion of the two cuisines is reflected in the restaurant’s interior, which blends materials used in Japanese design, such as wood and raffia, together with colorful mosaic tiles, parrot motifs and cascading tropical plants.
In particular, the designers said they were inspired by Tropicalismo – a Brazilian artistic movement that arose in the late 1960s.
“Above all, the design needed to contain a strong splash of colour, together with an eclectic style that could mix the two concepts of Japan and Brazil without being conventional,” said Masquespacio, who elected to use a contrasting palette of maroon and green with accents of brass and raffia.
Spread over two floors, the 125-square-metre restaurant is housed in a long and narrow retail unit in the city centre that opens onto the street. The building’s original brick vaulted ceiling and metallic beams have purposefully been exposed to celebrate the space’s “imperfections”, according to the designers.
Set against a backdrop of mosaic tiles, large circular panels of raffia are mounted across the walls as a nod to the hats worn by rice field workers in Japan. At the restaurant’s entrance, planters filled with tropical foliage are built into the walls and mezzanine level above.
The bar area features a wooden frontage inspired by a Japanese pattern while the mosaic tiles are arranged into a pattern inspired by 1970s Brazil.
A series of wall-mounted lamps featuring brass parrots and palm leaves that sit behind the bar were specially made for the space.
The restaurant’s upper level plays host to a series of round booths with tall sides that provide a more private dining experience. Topped by cascading tropical plants, the walls of the booths combine Japanese-inspired screens with green mosaic tiles.
Last year, Masquespacio unveiled a smartphone repair shop in Valencia which it designed using clashing colours and sharp angles.
Photography is by Luis Beltran.
Technical lighting: Onok Lighting