Sun Tianwen, chief designer of Shanghai Hip Hop has completed Setsugekka, a Japanese restaurant in Shanghai that follows the traditional ‘kaiseki’ or Omakase multi-course format. In Japanese poetry, ‘Setsugekka’ represents natural beings as well as emotions of joy and sadness, an understanding ingrained within Tianwen’s design vision for the restaurant.

Set in an early 20th-century building, aspects of traditional Japanese culture imbue the space through a contemporary lens. Seemingly disparate tones and materials work together to create a punchy yet strangely zen and harmonious space. Blue led light bands illuminate ultra clear glass engraved with a sakura cherry blossom tree. A sushi counter with chefs at work has a dramatic, pitch-black backdrop.

On the second floor, ceiling height glass panels create a mazelike labyrinth of private dining rooms, lit up pink and engraved with hundreds of individual cherry blossoms and droplets representing dew. It’s as if the flowers are pressed into the glass. Yellow led bands cast a golden glow representing sunlight over timber seating areas, including a communal dining table and built-in individual tables beneath a semi-curved ceiling.

The maximalist design fully immerses diners in the restaurant atmosphere and experience; as if in a video game or dramatic pop video clip. Dining here is intended to give emotive, human-to-human service in a completely synthetic environment.


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[Images courtesy of Shanghai Hip-pop. Photography by Boris Shiu.]


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