KevCo Construction General Contractor

Bobbin Studio Textile Installation

Images © Jamie Salomon Photography & Kaplan Thompson

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Context

Miyake is a critically acclaimed sushi restaurant in Portland, Maine that had reached national fame despite operating out of a tiny "hole in the wall" in the West End. This fame was in spite of a kitchen that didn't have room for their two chefs to work at the same time and an undersized 20-seat dining room that was turning away customers nightly.

Masa Miyake came to us to have a space that might finally live up to the food they had been serving. His team was looking for a restaurant that would be more refined and formal and convey the themes unique to this restaurant: creative and personally crafted foods at the highest level.

Response

The design seeks to create an island of serenity in Portland's busy Old Port - a quiet and serious space where the food is the focus of the attention. In the tradition of the sushi restaurant, the best seats in the house will be at the high bar, where diners can be personally served by the chefs at work in front of them.

The restaurant sought to evoke the feeling of a calm vessel moving over water at winter sunset, with high backed deep red banquets sheltering the patrons and quietly back-lit custom textiles glowing at the top of the walls. A custom CNC-milled birch plywood ceiling evokes a forest canopy, concealing the messy reality of a low ceilinged commercial space from the diners.

The traditional trappings of the restaurant were to be hidden from view, with no glass sushi case, visible wine bottles or stemware, and the only visible lighting a few glowing pendants over the bar.

Renovation

The restaurant took over an empty storefront that had previously been home to a furniture store.

In Town

Steps from the heart of Portland's famous restaurant district.

Renewable Materials

100-year-old reclaimed pickle barrel wood used in the bar top. No tropical woods used throughout the project.

Budget / Economy

Stained plywood instead of exotic veneers, concealed lighting instead of expensive fixtures, local craftsmen used throughout the project.

Award Winning

2012 AIA Maine Design Award