A Tribute to Local Crafts and Traditions
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A Tribute to Local Crafts and Traditions

Noma Kyoto

OEO Studio

A Tribute to Local Crafts and Traditions
By Editorial Staff -

Fabrics of natural origin, tatami, wood and bamboo tie the present to the past roots of the territory, but all these fabrics and essences are utilized with innovative and almost unexpected techniques.

Surrounded by handmade ceramics and works, traditional Japanese textiles and bamboo details, wooden artifacts and patterns tied to the weaving of tatami mats, one experiences the feeling of being inside an artisan workshop immediately upon stepping into Noma Kyoto. The pop-up restaurant of the famous chef René Redzepi, designed by OEO Studio, was open from mid-March to mid-May 2023. Immersed in the atmosphere and in direct contact with the style of the Ace Hotel Kyoto, the architects transformed the restaurant into a space balanced between Nordic and Oriental suggestions, blending contaminations from Denmark – Noma’s homeland – and the Japanese city. This dialogue is articulated as much in the architecture as it is in the cuisine. The studio worked closely with the entire team of Noma, and particularly with its interior stylist Christine Rudolph, to create an atmosphere respectful of both the starred restaurant’s identity and that of the East, which is already perceptible thanks to the presence of large windows overlooking an outdoor green oasis. 

Noma Kyoto - Kotaro Tanaka, courtesy OEO Studio In ogni ambiente è possibile respirare l’atmosfera tipica dei ristoranti Noma,  a partire dal primo locale di Copenhagen, con il suo stile essenziale e minimal, unito allo spirito del Giappone e in particolare di Kyoto: gli interni risultano così caldi e dall’effetto tattile anche in virtù di una tavolozza di colori terrosi.

To capture the spirit of both realities and make them tangible inside a space of over 250 sq. m – including the main open space and secondary wings, which are two separate areas for customized and private experiences – the focus was on delicate and warm tones with sometimes bold effects embellished by soft lighting, as well as on materials tied to the land and craft traditions reinterpreted by contemporary artists. Fabrics of natural origin, tatami, wood and bamboo tie the present to the past roots of the territory, but all these fabrics and essences are utilized with innovative and almost unexpected techniques: for example, tatami mats in many colors are used as wall-mounted acoustic screens or as dividing elements between environments. The various bamboo ceiling structures are functional in dividing spaces and defining identity. The main room, in particular, has the effect of an underwater seaweed forest. In creating this environment, there were crucial collaborations with a tenugui (typical cotton towels) producer and with Copenhagen’s Natural Material Studio, which studies the potential of material for the creation of powerful sensory experiences. 

The interior design of Noma Kyoto plays entirely on the balanced contrast between details originating in Japanese and northern European cultures, and this dialogue is reflected in and springs from the furniture and lighting fixtures, some of which were designed by OEO Studio themselves. The most representative example are the hanging ceiling lamps designed by Danish designer Jonas Edvard – called Algae Paper Lamp, they are realized with Danish algae and thermoformed paper. These lighting solutions also embody the philosophy of Noma and OEO Studio, centered on mixture and transformation: the cuisine of René Redzepi has always been known for its experimental and transformative vein, a quality which is reproposed here through architecture and design. 

Noma Kyoto - Kotaro Tanaka, courtesy OEO Studio La natura si fa protagonista degli interni grazie all’inserimento di piante e piccoli arbusti, sia a terra sia a soffitto. Alcuni materiali utilizzati ricordano ambienti acquatici, come nel caso del bambù per le strutture e delle alghe danesi a composizione delle lampade a sospensione, usate anche come elemento decorativo.

As in the case of the Tokyo, Sydney and Tulum pop-ups, “the planning of this restaurant took about two years”, the chef emphasized. “Everything had to be carefully considered, from the choice of food and wine products, to the producers, to the appearance of the venue. OEO Studio was able to create a space based on our identity, but which also shows a great respect for local design and craftsmanship”.

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Client: Noma
Completion: 2023
Gross Floor Area: 250 m2
Interior Design: OEO Studio
Main Contractor: Isetan Mitsukoshi Property Design

Photography: Kotaro Tanaka, courtesy of OEO Studio

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