Simply Sushi

Minimalism and subtle cultural references create a cohesive design statement for “One” sushi restaurant in Tel Aviv’s high-tech district.

The success or failure of many restaurants hinges on memorability and brand association. This is especially crucial in high-demand areas, such as the high-tech business district, Ramat Hachayal, in Tel Aviv, Israel, where sushi restaurant “One” is located.

Nir Portal Architects adhered to a clean, minimalistic aesthetic for the popular new restaurant while adding a few warm touches to the atmosphere, which was inspired by traditional Japanese design. As a result, each design element was carefully selected to ensure a cohesive look and to preserve Japanese tradition—fulfilling the client’s goal and vision for the space in the process.

Rather than using overt branding strategies typical to many hospitality environments, the design team opted for subtle cultural references in the restaurant’s design.

“We chose cultural brands such as traditional origami and dim sum steamers,” says Nir Portal, of Nir Portal Architects. “Both were translated into dramatic light fixtures and were located in the most important place in restaurant.”

The dramatic, custom origami-inspired light fixture, made of a material that simulates the look of traditional rice paper, is suspended from the ceiling and pays homage to the culture by which it was inspired.

The space’s color palette is monochromatic with light, lemongrass accents, providing a stark contrast to the intricate lighting. The walls are covered with black, large format porcelain tiles divided horizontally with LED light panels, and unlit portions of the ceiling are also black, while wood flooring adds warmth to the space. The kitchen and bathroom entrances are separated by a paneled partition made of a metal frame and two layers of glass with Japanese natural fabric woven in between.

“It fit the client objective in a way that the complete atmosphere was created by using this interpretation to Japanese and traditional culture,” explains Portal. “It matches the kind of food it serves and is coherent to the origin it came from.”