snøhetta has completed burnside, a chef-driven casual café and eatery by day and a bar and lounge by night in tokyo. the intimate space was designed in collaboration with local practice koo architects, en one tokyo, and with input from bronx-based food, design and art collective ghetto gastro. the sounds system was created devon turnbull (ojas), and flower artist makoto azuma was in charge of the central artwork that contrast with the overall dark aesthetic.
images © keishin horikoshi /SS
burnside by snøhetta builds upon ghetto gastro’s idea of using food to empower communities. since their founding in 2012, ghetto gastro’s work to explore global food traditions has led to immersive culinary experiences produced with the approach of art installations. inspired by this intersection of cultures — in this case the new york-style bodegas, or conbini as they’re called in japan — burnside is located on the second floor above a family mart. the space opens into a focused view of the dining room and open kitchen where a wall of fabric-lined windows filters light, be it from the sun during the day, or the city lights during night.
the transition between day and night, café and lounge, is a driving theme for the interior design. two intersecting arches create a well-defined café/dining area and kitchen while also allowing views across both spaces, blurring the line between front-of-house and back-of-house. a dark material palette features amber-colored accents that reflect the changing light throughout the day while highlighting more ornate design elements such as the floral sculptures designed by makoto azuma. with a 30-person max capacity, the dining room is suited to maximize the floor space with custom-designed family-style tables that join together and fold away to allow a variety of layouts, including creating a dance floor for late-night events.
beyond the dining room threshold is an open kitchen that revolves around the activity of the chefs and the culinary experience of heat and fire. the kitchen layout, designed with input from ghetto gastro, is intended to easily adapt for future chefs in the rotating roster. the overall flexibility of the design and layout ensures that the space accommodates a wide variety of pop-up uses and events.