Completed in 2012, our treatment of The Hare & Tortoise restaurant on High Street Kensington is in keeping with the earlier rebrand we developed for the group in their Ealing restaurant. Returning to the motif of Japanese bamboo forests, our design for the Kensington restaurant draws inspiration from the natural trails created using this giant plant in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto. These trails offer passers-by a quiet retreat from the fast-paced nature of crowded Japan. This effect is reproduced in the restaurant’s seating area by running a succession of timber strips up the wall and across the ceiling. The mixed use of materials emphasises the idea of lightness, and creates a minimalistic design that recalls Japanese bamboo trails.
The glazed shop front that wraps around the dining area serves to open up the space and diminishes the boundary between the interior and the exterior, sparking the curiosity of the passer-by. The palette used throughout the restaurant creates a serene transition between the buzz of the main street and the warmth of the interior. This is particularly expressed in the entrance lobby, where concrete panels and grey tones recall the urban setting: In contrast, walking through the dining area, a more natural environment is created through the use of timber and leather.