Somewhat of a hermit crab situation: You find a shell that will fit you, as it is one of those shells that you are supposed to be in, and yet it isn’t really perfect for you, itches here and there.
The existing building that we were confronted with when commissioned to design the interior for a small Italian restaurant was such a shell. At the foot of a midrise tower in central Tokyo, what would at first seem ideal for a restaurant, a little al fresco space in front of it, presents the main difficulty: The unusual distance from the street is obstacle rather than invitation.
Our design revolves around this point: Rather than merely occupying the existing shell, we inserted a volume that extends towards the street – as much as rentable space will allow – and thereby creates an inviting space that almost doubles the restaurant’s size.
Of course, as the hermit crab inhabits the shell, he finds his way, adjusts to it, redefines it: The core of the new restaurant seems to unfold towards all sides, almost becomes a giant wooden tray – as soon as you step on it, you become part of the restaurant where inside and outside are perceived as one. The shell’s itchy parts are left almost untouched, the new core receives, like the guests on it, all attention. - Graphic design (logo, menus, signs, business cards, and posters) and website by Edith Prakoso.