Site constraints included the awkward configuration of the previous tenancy, with low ceiling levels, carpet & plaster - all of which had to be removed to accommodate an industrial kitchen and restaurant space. Upon removal, a large double height void space was discovered above the suspended ceiling housing unsightly equipment. Although the client didn't have the budget to relocate, remove, or re-cover them plaster-board it offered an opportunity of gaining additional height which was taken up successfully via the 'lantern cloud'. The low suspension of the lanterns served many purposes – provided a strong brand statement within a simple device, it visually obscured equipment, it provided a low cost energy efficient lighting solution (compact fluorescent) and added warmth & intimacy within an otherwise cavernous space.
Other cost effective strategies which augmented design intent included a restrained colour and material palette - exposed concrete floors, simple black mosaic tiles were utilised for bar areas and restaurant utensils were used to provide a feature brand specific logo wall (at 2c each!). Off the shelf tables and stools were sourced by the client. The use of a matt black paint finish throughout greatly assisted in heightening the lanterns' effectiveness (impersonating the black night sky of the Yatai) - whilst itself camouflaging services and providing a feeling of intimacy. Mirror cladding on the end wall opposite the street front window amplified the length and strength of the lantern cloud which when observed from the lower street footpath level, commands attention through its simple sculptural effect.
This interior, sustainable by virtue of its methodology, is simple, honest and cost effective. It provides a point of difference within a context of high gloss shopping, a strong brand statement & embodies the philosophy of its product.