London sushi bar Chotto Matte wanted something a bit different for its new restaurant in Soho – something that gave the place a youthful edge and swerved the usual Japanese clichés. Leaving preconceptions behind and taking nothing more than an open mind and some clean pants, Andy Martin of interior architects ama headed off to Tokyo to soak up some authentic local flavour. The three marvellous floors at the end of Frith Street are the result of his travels.
Andy and curator Kurt Zdesar drafted in a couple of talented artists to help out. Houxo Que, a Tokyo-based painter and graffiti artist came up with the big graphic illuminated by UV light, while the major 17 metre murals are by London’s Tom Blackford, a self-confessed Japanophile who arrived with his Mighty Murals company colleagues and went to town. The work is protected behind glass panels, and glass walls come into play in the lounge too – they can retract when the weather is nice, opening out the space to the outside world. A burnt timber staircase and a bar sculpted out of lava rock add natural materials and help round out the look. Good stuff.