April 5, 2010
Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design LLC (JZA+D), a full-service, multi-disciplined architecture and design firm, is designing Waku Ghin., a modern, 8,000 square-foot restaurant at The Marina Bay Sands Resort and Casino in Singapore for one of the world’s most elite chefs, Tetsuya Wakuda. Seeking a dynamic, refined dining experience, Chef Wakuda has tapped JZA+D to create an environment rich in tone and texture to complement his divine, multi-dimensional cuisine. Waku Ghin – a name that pays homage to the “silver metal” cooking surfaces and the knives in his collection – is slated to open this Summer and marks Chef Wakuda’s first restaurant venture outside of Australia.
Guests entering Waku Ghin from the casino floor of the Marina Bay Sands first take notice of the sake bar and caviar lounge. Here, sheets of flowing, silky fabric, inspired by the dresses of American fashion designer Mary McFadden, hang to create a soft, illuminated ceiling. The furniture in this space – also designed by JZA+D – balances warm tones against the cool metallic plaster and Mother of Pearl used on the wall surfaces.
Beyond the bar and lounge, the grand hall serves as the restaurant’s epicenter – a space that unifies the entire dining experience. The corridor walls are manipulated to be curving and sinuous, echoing the work of American minimalist sculptor, Richard Serra. This approach takes advantage of the compressed nature of the space, turning what could have been a narrow passage into a dynamic centerpiece. Accenting the grand hall, the carpet design draws inspiration from undulating forms of folded steel in one of the knives from Tetsuya’s collection. Complementary small wall niches throughout the hall hold works of art from Chef Wakuda’s collection.
“The grand hall is the element that spatially ties together the multiple dining experiences of Waku Ghin,” said Joshua Zinder, AIA, principal of JZA+D. “We saw an opportunity to bring a sculptural element to the restaurant’s design even as we were faced with an irregularly shaped space due to the established kitchen and an adjacent restaurant. We feel this approach fits with Tetsuya’s passion for artistic forms as well as his culinary philosophy.”
Further down the grand hall, one of the large curving walls appears to fold back, providing a glimpse of the main dining room and drawing guests to yet another element of culinary enjoyment. Here, an arcing, 3,000-bottle wine display defines a warm, circular space where guests enjoy a delicate balance of textures and flavors. The illuminated fabric hanging from the ceiling invokes elements from the sake bar and caviar lounge, further marrying the spaces.
The drawing room serves as the terminus for Waku Ghin’s dynamic dining experience. In this relaxing space, desserts, coffees, teas, cognacs and other after-dinner libations are available from a rich wood segmented cabinet – all while taking in a dramatic floor-to-ceiling view of the Singapore skyline.
“Joshua and his team have done an outstanding job in designing a space that complements the culinary joy we seek to share with our guests – and that is to present a layered series of delicate tastes, textures, smells and appearances that build upon one another,” said Chef Tetsuya Wakuda. “So much of that dining experience is enhanced by ambiance, décor and atmosphere – elements that this design team has masterfully incorporated into Waku Ghin.”
JZA+D designed all furniture throughout the entire restaurant. In the sake bar and caviar lounge, the forms and materials of the furniture design counterbalance warm tones against cool metallic wall surfaces. Similarly, the furniture in main dining room captures themes of balance and form – paralleling the Chef’s dynamic, multi-layered culinary vision.
From an environmental and sustainability perspective, JZA+D is making a sound commitment with the design of Waku Ghin. Woods used in the space are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and various design elements such as the carpeting and fabrics employ rapidly renewable resources and recycled materials. The firm also designed the furniture to reflect a commitment to sustainability by using locally-sourced materials and local manufacturers.
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