Architecture firm odd has designed a high-end Japanese dining experience among traditional karesansui gardens
Dramatic design elements inspired by the Japanese aesthetic appreciation of nature are to be found at SORA, a high-end restaurant on the first floor of the Marriott Nanjing South Hotel. Designed by Beijing-based architecture firm odd (okamoto deguchi design), the space is dominated by sleek black, rich materials, soft linear lighting accentuations and delicate wooden latticework.
The restaurant’s exterior evokes a Japanese landscape. This karesansui — the traditional Japanese dry landscaping aesthetic — continues inside, where several private rooms are separated by garden elements. The work also harbours elements of the borrowed view, a concept taken from Chinese and Japanese garden design, in which natural features of the landscape are incorporated into the visual experience of the confines of the surroundings, thus ‘borrowing’ from the larger environment.
Each room is characterised by a distinctive design feature. In the first sushi room, for example, wooden latticework is contrasted with the grain of natural marble and minimalist decor that reflects a pared-down aesthetic.
The second sushi room adopts a different take on traditional sushi bars; black mirrored stainless steel pairs with the soft textural quality of the walls. The tatami rooms offer a tranquil and rustic ambiance, with soft lighting accentuating the natural granite materials of the surfaces.
A transparent lattice screen is used in the eight-person dining room, while carved wooden lattice screens offer a degree of privacy in the two-person dining rooms – both of which reference the craftsmanship of the Edo period. In the whisky bar, a sense of movement is created through the dance of light and patterns on the wall, artfully amplified by mirrors on both sides of the room.
Throughout SORA, Feelux luminaires were chosen to provide soft and delicate accentuation of the textures within the space. The result is a space where the elegance of nature evokes a contemplative ambience, with traditional Japanese aesthetic elements communicated through a mixture of bold design and subtle, yet concentrated illumination.
Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas Images / Rujing Photo