Zen Sushi is a Japanese restaurant in Rome.

On the 10th year of activitythe owners wanted to change the look without changing too much the way it used to work.


The project is inspired by the walkways in the forest bordered by the succession of hundreds of matt black and glossy red-orange wooden portals, which lead to the temples of Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, of which reproduces colors and suggestions. The dynamism of the kaiten, the peculiar revolving tape carring on sushi on coloured plates that customers can take directly from their seats, suggested to emphasize the dynamic dimension of the space with straights lines and the rhythm of close vertical elements inspired by those of Fushimi Inari.


The design challenge washow create a japanese feeling in a contemporary way.The immediately thought was to recall some of the most impressive images coming back to memory from Japan, thecolors and sensations of the temples of Kyoto, and especially the walkways in the forest that reach them, the paper lights all around the temples and the forest, together with the ultra polished surfaces of the lacquered objects of Japanese craft tradition.

The most impressive thing of Fushimi Inari temples was the endless succession of vertical elements red-orange above and black below.

The project use and interprets these elements in an abstract way avoiding to build a simple imitation or reproduction of them, but searching to understand the essence of their suggestions. The essence was found in:the contrastof matte black and glossy red-orange;the obsessive repetitionof very close vertical elements; together withthe dynamic experienceof the walkways in the forest to reach the temples.


The project is thought as a process, or what Le Corbusier would have called an "architectural promenade", rather than a simple decor of the interior. Conceived with the Fushimi Inari walkways in mind, the environment is thought as a succession of steps and changes of direction, rhythmed by the obsessive repetition of the vertical elements, that gradually reveals the space of the restaurant. To each change of direction corresponds a subsequent opening that invites to continue exploring the space and reach the bottom of the narrow and long environment.