KINOKO RESTAURANT & BAR
Hospitality design - Casual Dining
Byron Bay, NSW
Design | Documentation | Procurement | Project & Construction Management
Drawing heavily on the traditional Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic, Kinoko sushi train and restaurant in Byron Bay comes to life through a highly textured and moody materials palette. The concept of wabi-sabi was the underlying driver for Kinoko, which in Japanese culture is about respecting and admiring the beauty of the imperfect, just as it is in nature.
Having been in the space for 15 years, it was time for a refresh and refurbishment, which included some small tweaks on the brand, but focused on updating the interiors to bring in a whole new ambience. As a popular seaside location, part of the brief was creating an inviting and enticing space both throughout the day and in the evening. While the space planning and layouts were maintained for efficiency, everything else within the space from finishes to furniture, has been completely reinvigorated.
Wanting to create an almost cave-like quality, the space is moody, and rich with a tonal colour palette of dark tones. In this regard, the whole fit-out focuses on texture and materials rather than colour. Every material and its application taps into the notion of imperfection and patina.
A dramatic feature within the new space, and one that really reflects the core concept of wabi-sabi, is the tinted lime wash-coated plaster walls. Rich and textural, the walls create a striking backdrop with the rough application further highlighted by the pendant lighting. The same plaster has been applied to the ceiling, using a different, slightly rougher application technique, contributing to the cocooning cave-like feeling.
Hanging over the sushi train in the middle of the double-height space is a suspended track light in a matte black powdercoat finish – sourced from local Byron Bay supplier Lighting Collective. Functionally the lighting needed to ensure the staff have enough light when working behind the train, while also creating the right kind of ambience in the evening for the customers.
The whole face of the sushi bar has been re-clad in a unique product – air slate – bringing the desired dark, natural touch of slate, in a way that made it easy to apply for this environment. All the furniture has been custom-made by Brisbane manufacturer, Blackwood Collective, using a Cambia Ash timber, which is a naturally smoked oak giving a rich colour right through the thickness of the timber.
The floor underwent the same process of wabi-sabi, with the original tiles stripped back to reveal a worn-in, rough-hewn concrete floor, which was then covered with a black stain to finish it off. Again the natural and existing imperfections highlighted as a feature.
Along the back wall, a series of thin timber battens set the backdrop for a new sign – laser cut in corten steel. It will continue to rust and age over time, another reminder of appreciating what is not perfect, and a perfect accent to the darkened timber.