Kaikaya is Valencia‘s first tropical restaurant that fuses elements of Japan and Brazilian tropicalismo, designed by local studio Masquespacio.

“At the beginning of the twentieth century, the first Japanese people arrived in Brazil with the aim to work in the coffee plantations,” explain Ana Milena Hernández Palacios and Christophe Penasse, co-founders of Masquespacio. As Japanese nutrition was totally different to the Brazilian, a new kind of gastronomy was born that fused the two cultures. Nikkei Nipo-Brazilian cuisine flourished with a strong identity, which after more than a century reached international fame.

“Kaikaya is the result of this history, bringing the fusion of traditional and methodic Japan with the tropical and exotic elements of contemporary Brazil,” explain Ana and Christophe. The restaurant embodies two seemingly opposing cultures in both the food it serves and in Masquespacio‘s design response.

The designers used existing elements of the venue like the vaults, steel beams and original brickwork, highlighting the beauty of the imperfections left by time.

The interior introduces a strong expression of colour and an eclectic aesthetic that mixes references from Japan and Brazil, without looking conventional. In the first instance, there’s the use of materials reminiscent of Japan, like timber and raffia. These are used alongside ‘tropicalismo’ elements from the samba country with its colourful patterns made of parrot motifs, mosaic tiles and an abundant use of plants.

The oversized raffia circles located at the front of the restaurant represent the hats used during the rice collection in the country of the rising sun. These are boldly merged with colourful mosaic tiles and tropical plants, continuing the ongoing conversation between tropical and Japanese elements.

 

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[Images courtesy of Masquespacio. Photography by Luis Beltran.]

 

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