Ito Japanese

Blending Chinese and Japanese Garden Philosophies

Considering the brand’s feature of serving original Japanese cuisine in Beijing’s Parkview Green renowned as a hub of innovative thinking, Monique Lee's design for Ito Japanese goes beyond traditional Japanese design norms. It presents a distinct Japanese Karesansui - dry landscape, while assimilating Chinese garden elements to create a different aesthetic appeal.

The design of Ito Japanese is a unique fusion of Chinese and Japanese garden philosophies. It seamlessly blends Chinese patterns and the serene Karesansui landscape of Japan. To present these traditional concepts in a modern way, the decorations combine natural and metallic materials, creating a harmonious balance between tradition and innovation.

The interior of Ito Japanese is divided into three sections - The Atrium, Mystery of Nature, and the Periphery. The Atrium is a courtyard surrounded by several compartments that allow guests to experience the changing seasons. The Mystery of Nature section creates a serene and immersive atmosphere, transporting diners to a tranquil Japanese garden. The Periphery is a Japanese-inspired space dedicated to signature Robatayaki and Teppanyaki cuisines.

The realization of the design incorporates a balanced form that combines Karesansui landscape techniques with the layout of a Chinese Siheyuan. The design also draws inspiration from ancient architecture with artful ceiling designs reinvented in a modern 3D style. Instead of traditional Japanese washi paper, metal and glass screens are used to create partitions. Key construction materials include steel, embossed glass, and marble stones. The use of engineered wood flooring reduces the need for original hardwood, making the design more sustainable.

The restaurant spans an area of 375 square meters and is located in Parkview Green FangCaoDi, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China. The project started in December 2020 and was completed in November 2021. The design was realized through a combination of client input and the design team's experience from previous projects executed in Mainland China.

One of the main challenges in the design was creating several independent dining sections within the limited interior space. To maintain a spacious feeling, corridors and translucent glass screens were used instead of solid walls. Another challenge was overcoming the pressing feeling resulting from a low roof. This was achieved by incorporating a feature ceiling built with reflective rippled mirror-polished steel, which also serves as a focal point. The construction of the metal bars on the feature wall at the shopfront required meticulous manual linking and setting at specific angles, showcasing the skill and labor involved in the design process.

Ito Japanese's shopfront features a striking Karesansui landscape with bold water current images and bamboo trees. The entrance area is designed with a combination of metallic and natural materials, creating a welcoming reception area. As guests walk through the interior, they experience the layout of a traditional Chinese Siheyuan. The central atrium space is surrounded by private rooms in an earthy tone, each representing a corner of the compass. In the rear part of the restaurant, two open kitchens are reserved for Robatayaki and Teppanyaki cuisines, reminiscent of the open spaces under the eaves of traditional Japanese houses where families and friends gather and chat during leisure time.

All images: Parkview Green, ITO Restaurant, 2021

Copyright belongs to Monique Lee, 2020.

This design was awarded Bronze in the A' Interior Space, Retail, and Exhibition Design Award in 2023. The Bronze A' Design Award is bestowed upon outstanding and creatively ingenious designs that authenticate experience and resourcefulness. Esteemed for incorporating best practices in art, science, design, and technology, they exhibit strong technical and creative skills and contribute to quality of life improvements, making the world a better place.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Monique Lee
Image Credits: All images: Parkview Green, ITO Restaurant, 2021
Project Team Members: Designer: Monique Lee
Project Name: Ito
Project Client: Monique Lee

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