Feeling ‘nocturnal’ – In the 1930s in Tokyo, the kissa illegal underground jazz clubs were the place-to-be for food, jazz music and great drinks. Inspired by such urban-cool vibes, internationally renown studio AfroditiKrassa has designed the hotly anticipated Lucky Cat, the Gordon Ramsay Restaurants’ ultimate experience in the heart of Mayfair – London, that offers a menu of Asian-inspired small plates and sushi. The interior design aims to “challenge stereotypes of Japan being very formal and strict architecturally”.
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“We came across the kissas whilst researching into past and present Japanese food culture and fell in love with their atmosphere.” Says Afroditi Krassa to Archipanic. “They were the bold, atmospheric and nocturnal type of places where you would go to let your hair down and experiment on new, fun things.”
The studio worked very closely with Gordon and his team to curate something that “is considered but not formal, vibrant but not gimmicky, urban, youthful and fun. In our projects, we always start with the food and work our way out: what crockery, what table, what chairs, what floors and so on. Gordon and his team presented their culinary concept, we had some tasting sessions to really get to grips with it – perks of the job!”
With an underlying art-deco influence, the layout has been conceived in a way that ensures every table in the house will offer an exciting perspective. The chef’s working table is situated in the heart of the venue to allow guests to choose from a bespoke, handwritten, seasonal menu whilst savouring show cooking performances.
The Raw Bar offers a luxurious setting to enjoy exquisite sushi and sashimi. Customers are also given the chance to hire out a private dining room, offering three spaces for events and memorable celebrations, with interiors that echo the main restaurant space, featuring shades of dark indigo, distressed leather chairs and warm, mood lighting throughout.
Design features such as the cast brass bamboo bar front enhance the Asian flair of the venue, whilst rare Japanese knife displays peak the interest of guests as they make their way to their seats.
Intricately curved brass screens, antique mirrors, black bamboo panelling and layered linen screens are just a few of the elements which build a luxurious undertone throughout, whilst the geometric patterns, Japanese indigo dyed fabrics and distressed leather reinforce the playful ambience.
Living up to its name, playful cat references run throughout the venue, with the likes of subtle cat relief tiles, stone cat statues and cat tail hooks complimenting more dominant features, like the Maneki Nejo cat wall in the bar area, comprising of 300 bespoke, handmade ceramic cats.
“We deliberately went dark as the space is on Raised Ground Floor, it made sense to me to design it so that it feels like entering another ‘world’, a bit of a discovery, a restaurant that would feel warm and cinematic.” Says Afroditi Krassa to Archipanic.
“We tried to work with materials and colours that are subtle and classic, not too ‘shouty’. There is relatively little contrast between colours, pattern and finish yet a lot of richness in texture and tactility. Lucky Cat is layered design that reveals more every time you visit. How many times do you visit a place because it looks great in a picture but disappoints in real life?”
All photos: courtesy of AfroditiKrassa Design Studio.
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