longrain

Luchetti Krelle designs Longrain, Tokyo

Aug 25, 2017
  • Article by Belinda Aucott

Luchetti Krelle this week delivered Longrain Tokyo, a warm and earthy interior on the 39th floor of a skyscraper in Ebisu, Tokyo.

Floating high above the skyline, with a panoramic city view below, the layout gives subtle nods to its founding Surry Hills warehouse, while also paying respect to Japanese symbols and craftsmanship.

To discuss how their final design fuses cool mid century classics, with references to its brother, and sister venues, we caught up with principal designer Stuart Krelle over a coffee.

The new space sits on the 39th floor. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
The new space sits on the 39th floor with impressive views over Tokyo. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

As we quickly discover, the job of transporting an iconic modern Thai restaurant to Tokyo, was not without its challenges. The 160-seater required a sensitive touch to blend Australian casual dining and refined Thai cuisine, into a glamorous Tokyo locale.

Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

Ebisu is a district popular with young people for food and wine culture and the top two floors of Yebisu Garden Place represent a premium destination with spectacular views.

“We wanted the restaurant to have its own identity, but we also wanted to give subtle nods to the two other venues,” says Stuart.

Brick has been integrated as a reference to Longrain Melbourne. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
Brick has been integrated as a reference to Longrain Melbourne. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

“For instance we loved the green fish scale tiles and heritage red brick at Longrain Chinatown on Little Bourke Street Melbourne and the ceiling joists and beams in the Surry Hills warehouse in Sydney.”

But because the site chosen was not a heritage warehouse, or a converted factory, Luchetti Krelle had to import the founding concepts from its homeland restaurants, in creative ways.

An 'X' detail was integrated as a homage to the history of the Australian restaurants. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
An ‘X’ detail was integrated as a homage to the history of the Australian restaurants. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

“We have used a subtle ‘X’ symbol through the Longrain Ebisu venue to reference the Australian warehouse framework, but also to represent an intersection of cultures; Australian, Japanese and Thai,” says Stuart.

For seating Luchetti Krelle chose American Norman Cherner chairs from 1958 with lovely fan shape backrests.

Fan-backed seats have been used in the space. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
Fan shaped back rests have been used in the space. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

“They help to soften the other materials like brick, steel and concrete. They add some femininity, together, with the use of marble and aged brass,” Stuart says.

The artworks by Australian artist Christopher Hodges also help tie the two venues together.

Hanging over the bar sits a bespoke light feature. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
Hanging over the bar sits a bespoke light feature. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

The other major design feature is a bespoke light feature over the bar, which Stuart Krelle designed to anchor the bar at the entrance and provide a sense of wonderment and occasion.

“The light is representative of Thai rain chains that provide a soothing shift of water. Mixed with a mid century influence and inspiration from the interchangeable modular candelabra by Fritz Nagel,” Stuart says.

The custom light feature has mid century influences. Photo by Nikki To.
The custom light feature has mid century influences. Photo by Nikki To.

The tubular design produces soft gold light around the high bar seating.

The other lighting is by French minimalist Serge Mouille, which is an element taken directly from Longrain Sydney.

Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

Longrain Melbourne is present too. As you move around the venue you find the distinctive round wooden table with inlaid marble lazy Susan’s, a red brick feature wall behind the bar as well as pops of green wool and earthy ochre red flooring. While it might not be obvious to those who’ve never visited Longrain in Australia, these vignettes will be a welcome reminder to foodie tourists visiting from Australia.

The 'X' detail as reference to the framework of Longrain Melbourne. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.
The ‘X’ detail as reference to the framework of Longrain Melbourne. Photo by Satoshi Matsuo.

“The Longrain design vernacular is definitely here,” says Longrain founder and restaurateur Sam Christie. “But Ebisu has its own style and it really reflects the exact, precision of our Japanese partners. Just their attention to detail which is always impressive.”

Longrain Tokyo by Luchetti Krelle opens on Saturday 26 August 2017.

Lead image by Nikki To.

luchettikrelle.com

Take a look at a hospitality closer to home by Luchetti Krelle – Bar Brosé in Darlinghurst.

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