Kiyotomo Sushi Bar - 1988 Shiro Kuramata
The Kiyotomo Sushi Bar was one of Kuramata’s more tamed interior projects. Located in Tokyo’s Shinbashi District since it opening in 1988. Located along a local side street, the bar was something you couldn’t miss. The buildings dark textured facade stood out amongst the surrounding residential buildings. You were welcomed by a bright blue curved wall which ushered you into the bars warm and beautiful interior.
Kuramata’s used of simple materials and sharp attention to detail showed off his already well known talent as an interior designer and architect. Kiyotomo was quite a magical space, and Kuramata was the magician. His tricks were ones that he hid in plain sight. The bar counter for one, consisted of three, 16 foot slabs of white marble granite, and gave the appearance of being completely seamless in its design. The bathroom door was playfully designed wider than the actual door opening. Which played as an optical illusion and would almost hit you in the face every time you opened it.
Kiyotomo is one of the few interiors that Kuramata designed that stood the tests of time. Many of his other interior projects unfortunately no longer exist. After falling on hard times, It was purchased in 2004 by a design enthusiast with the hopes to keep the sushi bar going, but those dreams never came to realization. It’s new owner, knowing the bars significance and rarity, sold the bar to the Hong Kong based museum M+. There began the long and meticulous process of dismantling, restoring and and moving the entire bar to Hong Kong where it now lives as part of their permanent collection, and is on display. A true act of interior preservation.
Photos courtesy of: M+/Lok Cheng