A team of architects designs the Kotori restaurant in Sao Paulo

Brazilian studio Coletivo de Arquitetos has completed a Japanese restaurant in Sao Paulo’s Pinheiros district, using traditional Japanese woodwork techniques.


Completed this year, the 350-square-meter Kotori restaurant has just a few seats up front, facing the street through the shop window.

Kotori was designed in 2020 and opened earlier this year

On the outside, architects line the facade with wood, with overhanging brackets suggesting the nature of the space inside.

It occupies most of the long, narrow dining room bar with extra seats at a table in the back of the restaurant.

Japanese restaurant and bar in Sao Paulo
The dark colored strip contrasts with the other end parts of the space

The architects hung a wooden lattice from the high ceilings of the existing space, which covers the dining room and helps to separate this space from the bar and the entrance space.

The overlapping elements of the dowels hold flat wooden panels that obscure the lighting and give the space a sense of intimacy.

Across the bar, this structure acts as a shelf, where the owners exhibit books, plants and other items.

From the back of the space, the kitchen is visible through a large glass, which allows patrons to observe chef Thiago Bañares and his team at work.

Sao Paulo restaurant interior design with wooden canopy
The wooden construction above the tables defines the seating area near the kitchen

“Thiago has always stressed that he wants to have a square kitchen with a central island that could provide him and his associates with an overall view of all work areas,” Coletivo de Arquitetos said.

Transparent film was used for some of the custom-made furniture to look like a traditional Japanese paper known as Washi. Along the walls, architects hung sculptures of koi fish.

Interior design of the Japanese restaurant Kotori São Paulo
The architects relied on traditional Japanese art and decorations

Other finishing areas of the space include wooden slats and ceilings, simple wooden furniture and forest green accents.

Brazil is among the countries with the largest Japanese population outside of Japan itself. Other recently completed Japanese restaurants around the world include a space with sharp black interiors in Colorado’s Roth Sheppard Architects and an open-air dining room topped by the thatched roof of Mexico’s west coast.

It’s a photo Rubens Kato, unless otherwise indicated.


Project loans:
Architect: The team of architects
Design team Architects Collective: Guile Amadeu, Rodrigo Lacerda and Luna Viana

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