DesignLSM has created a fresh interior concept for renowned US restaurant group Benihana. The new, Glasgow based restaurant, the first site of the brand's planned expansion; creates an entertaining teppanyaki dining experience.
DesignLSM worked closely alongside the client to conceptualize and create a narrative that draws on the remarkable legacy of founder Hiraoki 'Rocky' Aoki with subversive visual nods that evoke the energy and true ethos of the brand.
Located on Glasgow's West Nile Street, the exterior of the site has been lined with timber lattice screening giving reference to the Shoji screens found throughout Japan but updated with a unique twist. The hypnotic design aesthetic captivates guests as soon as they enter the space; with the dramatically framed cocktail bar marking the beginning of their Benihana experience. In the bar area, traditional Noren screens are suspended above banquette seating with hanging pendant lighting injecting a warm and relaxed ambiance.
The designers adopted a mature palette of polished plaster, pale oak and (Shou Sugi Ban) charred timber paired with bold tones of black and red which echo the brand's origins. A bespoke dining structure forms the focal backdrop of the restaurant complete with five live cooking stations where guests can enjoy the passionate kitchen theatrics of Teppan cooking. For groups seeking the original Benihana experience, there are a further four stations positioned around the perimeter.
Japanese manga illustrations have inspired key parts of the design from the mesmerizing feature floor tiles to the distinctive 'anime' style wall artwork. DesignLSM's branding team collaborated with illustrator Siku Akinsiku to produce the wall graphics, which depict the colorful persona of founder Rocky.
The interior results project a confident tone and bold aesthetic in line with the brand's vision of evolving Benihana for a new generation.
"Benihana is such an iconic name. Being given the opportunity to reconceptualize the interior was very flattering," commented Anne Rhind, Associate Designer, DesignLSM. "The design team thoroughly enjoyed developing the scheme and are really proud of the end result."
Photography: Cadzow Pelosi