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J – Contemporary Japanese Restaurant, Italy

J – Contemporary Japanese Restaurant, Italy

J Contemporary Japanese Restaurant is located in Naples in one of the blocks of Piazza Bovio, where Via Agostino Depretis intersects Via Loggia Dei Pisani. This area takes its current urban configuration between the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century thanks to the reconstruction project of the lower part of the city after epidemic cholera in 1884.

Currently, it has a vocation mainly tertiary, frequented almost exclusively during business hours, and completely empty in the evening. The project is intended to counter this problem and sets the basis for a revitalization and subsequent regeneration of this urban area.

The J Restaurant is inspired by Japanese cuisine, reinterpreting some values in a contemporary way and in a relationship with the Neapolitan context.

The dialectical relationship between these two worlds starts the design path.

The main idea behind the project is the culinary celebration.

Modulated lights create different atmospheres; the deep black of the tables, thanks to the clear contrast with the bright colors of the dishes, enhances the true protagonist: the food.

The sequence of these spaces is articulated by rereading in an occidental key, some elements of the traditional Japanese house, Minka.

The foyer, as the Genkan, is placed at a lower level than the other spaces, it has the function to welcome the guests through the presence of a bar. The undisputed star of this room is a volume of mirrors that distort the perception of space and it rewrites the proportions.

Continuing the path, a curtain made of light cloth, Noren, inspired by traditional Japanise curtains, marks the entrance to the main hall: the true heart of the house. Space is dominated by the sushi bar which, situated as an altar, aligned with the kitchen, symbolizes the Butsudan, which is the spiritual center of the whole house.

The intimacy of the home environment is commemorated by gates, windows, ceiling and wooden parts, the presence of which has the task to define the living spaces of the hall.

The ongoing dialogue between East and West takes form by the interplay of materials that​ sees the combination of essential forms in warm wood and rough concrete walls, with the elegant black marble-cement paving, unifying element of the environment, which dialogues with the historical context of the building in which this intervention is located. The right side of the main area has a small gap that, with discretion, accesses to the private area of the restaurant. The latter, by the colors​ of the night, evokes the ambiance of a private garden, Tsuboniwa, after dusk. Just like the branches of a mysterious ancient tree, the artwork made by Campanian artist Vincenzo Frattini, dominates the environment and its guests.

Light filters through the artwork and the feeling that emerges is that of being suddenly immersed in a night-time atmosphere, illuminated by the moonlight.


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