Friday 17 May 2013


Award banner

The brief was to help the renowned restaurant 'Kinugawa' - long acknowledged as the Parisian hub of Japanese gourmet cuisine - to further its reputation by creating a space that lends itself to the classic Japanese culinary experience, with echoes of Japanese 'Zen' lifestyle.

The starting concept was to find a way to combine Japanese culture with French social etiquette and 'joie de vivre'.  Gilles & Boissier were chosen by the restaurant owner to rise to the challenge of creating a space which emanates a jovial and complaisant atmosphere as experienced in a traditional Parisian 'brasserie' in an overtly 'Japanese' context.

The challenge for Gilles & Boissier was bring to life a design which embodies both the traditional and contemporary soul of Japan.  The two-sided nature of the Japanese culture is inspired and embodied in Japan's two major cities - Tokyo and Kyoto.  The contemporary aspect of the design takes its influence directly from daring and dynamic Tokyo; the traditional aspects explore the tenets of the Zen aesthetic, referring to contemplative and calm Kyoto.

The most testing aspect of the project was the amalgamation of both contemporary and traditional Japanese culture with a 'French touch', harkening to the overt pleasure take the French in the general culinary experience.

An impressive 6 m high wall mural - the original work of artist Alix Waline - invokes the motion and movement of water and transports us to the Japanese water gardens as depicted in traditional Japanese embossed art.  The size and presence of this piece is juxtaposed with its subtle colours and 'Zen' undertones in accordance with the overall "Tokyo and Kyoto/ Modern and Classic" design theme.

Wooden openwork pillared partitions are used throughout the space and are reflected along the mirrored staircase wall, which plays on a theme of mixing light and shadow as found within Japanese theatre.  The first floor serves as the 'workshop' on which we can observe "suhimen".  In this large, more traditional space we find an eclectic combination of raw materials used to give depth and texture to the walls.  Ranging from darkened cedar wood, scorched stone-work and raw leather seating, such use of natural materials is elementary to all G& B design projects.  The floor is dominated by an elegant and stylish mottled-red floor-rug, alluding to the geishas of antiquity.