Architecture: The material defines the character of the rooms

(October 2012) Tokyo’s Ginza Steak-Restaurant could serve as a case study for the use of various materials. Situated in the Ginza recreation area, it was designed by Aiji Inoue of Doyle Collection. Lets pay a visit.

Already at the entrance wood and stone rush together to greet us, more precisely, chestnut and basalt. We are to encounter the wood again.

And there it is: an entire wall of chestnut. Aiji Inoue admits that the grain of the wood and the warmth of this noble material have always fascinated him.

We turn around and our glance comes to rest on the open kitchen counter at which one sits bar-like. The wall is clad in Oya-stone, a type of volcanic rock popular in Japan since Frank Lloyd Wright discovered it for the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. At the front of the bar: raw lava stone from Italy.

The stone for the bar top comes from Zimbabwe and is polished. In contrast, the stone to the left is raw and stems from China.

The open area with 13 seats is complemented by a more secluded zone with 6 seats.

Here, too, the Oya-stone welcomes us at the end of the bar. A new accent is added and reaches from floor to ceiling: Onyx in 6 mm-thick sheets and mounted on glass plates. It could stem from Brazil but the architect is no-longer certain of its provenance.

Let us focus our attention on two more projects by Aiji Inoue.

In Tokyo’s Ryudocho Ebishima Restaurant he once again designed the wall in Oya-stone.

The pictures take on the look of a Zen-garden, Kare-san-sui: …

… Here, a brook of pebbles flows through a plaster surface.

And finally Tokyo’s Chronus Bar. The rocks on the wall are impressive but not real. They are mere plaster cast models of nature’s originals.

Doyle Collection

Photos: Aiji Inoue