© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

BASHO SUSHI HOUSE // PAULO MERLINI ARCHITECTS

Gondomar, Porto District, Portugal

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The space is characterized by his small dimension, only 25 sq/m and a unique facade turned into one of the busiest streets in town.
In the spatial organization approach our main concern was to valorize the art of preparation and the transformation of the fish. In order to achieve that, we draw an exposed balcony to the eyes of the consumer.

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

By putting it on the opposite side of the main entrance we´ve made the sushiman the space protagonist, and we´ve granted a quite frank cook/costumer relation, granting the needed confidence to a public that still sees sushi as a strange dish.
All the other needed areas for food preparation are located in a small niche near the balcony, and hidden beyond a wooden slated door that shows only the silhouette of the other involved intervenient in the sushi preparation, assigning a certain mystic to the space itself and into the all preparation ritual.
The rest is public area.

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

Even confined to a 9 sq/m area the intention was to create a space with a strong character and one that could direct the mind of the observer into the Nipponese culture, and to do it we knew we had to resort to the symbolic power of icons.
Symbols are ideas that, due to their influence, prevailed in time and rooted into a certain culture becoming a part his own identity.

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

For example, if we think in a baguette and an accordion our brain will make an immediate association to France and its cities. This phenomenon happens because the brain organizes thought throw a concept association mechanism. It organizes information in “small bags” (concepts) “glued” by our own personal experience. It´s a personal process but not a intrasmissible one, considering the fact that we all live in a sociocultural context ruled by the ideas and beliefs defended and widespread by others before us.

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

Morality, ethics, culture and traditions of a certain country are the result of the accumulation of those same ideas. Some, by their relevance, persist in time and become a part of the collective thought, and sometimes so viscerally that they become symbols of their own culture.
In the above example the symbols that makes us think in France are, the baguette and the accordion.

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

In this case we had to find a Nipponese cultural symbol that was so easily recognizable to the viewer as the baguette is to France. We realized that in the very basis of the sushi cuisine we could find such a symbol. What better icon of the oriental gastronomy than chopsticks?
Throw a nine sq/m area we´ve spread 8.400 chopsticks in an uniform way, recreating a Japanese temple silhouette, another strong Nipponese icon.

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

However, knowing that today consumer his avid for new things, we wanted to give space a mutable character, so throw a very simple cable support system we transformed the little chopsticks net into a tridimensional pixelated “screen”. Throw a net of various brackets integrated in the ceiling slab it´s possible to change the chopstick ceiling form and transform space completely.
The color pallet choice was made in respect of the traditional Japanese aesthetics, in which shadow meets a primordial role in the architectural harmony balance.

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

So, we´ve painted the walls black to get the ideal luminance absorption, reinforcing the ceiling aesthetic potential. .

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

© Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography

BASHO SUSHI HOUSE Gallery

© OPUS 5 Architectes

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