This Houston restaurant, designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, takes cues from Japanese farmhouses, using timber and tiling to create a companionable atmosphere.
The sunken hearths that are the focal point of many rural homes in Japan were the starting point for the design team, who have created a scaled-up version of one of these for Uchiko Houston – the sister restaurant for Tyler Cole’s original.
Instead of being placed on the ground, the hearth has been turned into a reception area, framed by a partition wall made of latticed wooden beams, and with blue tiling and painting that nods to Japanese visual culture.
The theme continues elsewhere in the Houston restaurant, which owes its welcoming ambience to an abundance of wooden beams and flooring, leather and wood dining furniture, and globe-shaped pendants covered in a cast concrete shield.
The overall feeling is one of warmth, emphasised by the blue wallpaper and hand-painted mural that lines Uchiko’s walls and ceiling. Bigger parties can reserve the chef’s table, which sits beneath a theatrical, fringed light fitting.