Dezeen Magazine

Giles Reid uses pastel tones and sycamore wood for Japanese restaurant in east London

Architect Giles Reid has paired wooden furniture with bulbous lighting and pastel-coloured crockery to create a Japanese restaurant in Dalston, east London (+ slideshow).

Giles Reid converted a wedding dress shop to create Jidori, working closely alongside the restaurant's owner. The aim was to create a space with two atmospheres – open and airy during the day and intimate by night.


One of the architect's first moves was to install zigzagging ceiling above the dining area.

"The existing space was quite difficult, insofar as it was neither particularly long, nor tall nor broad and quite difficult to gain much inspiration," Reid told Dezeen. "It was broken up with partitions and was in quite a poor state, but the location is in the heart of Dalston, so fundamentally, the space has good bones."

"Early on, I felt the space needed some sort of sense of occasion and that the ceiling could be used in some way to make the dining area feel both a bit contained and special," he said.


Initially the client's wish was to contain the kitchen at the back of the restaurant. But as time went on, they team decided it made more sense for it to be part of the dining area – similar to other recently completed restaurants in Bangkok and Vancouver.

"The design was quite fluid that way but it was probably the best decision of the project," said Reid. "It gives theatre and I feel is a big factor in people enjoying the space."


A bar-like table constructed from sycamore surrounds the kitchen and has enough room to seat 10 diners. High stools are topped with dark-coloured cork, while the bulbous pendant lamps hang down overhead.

"We chose to use sycamore as it has a history of use in Japanese furniture, along with a a very subtle grain and a lot of warmth," said Reid.

"The bar top is folded so that the lower shelf is for eating and the upper shelf for serving onto. Brett – the client – has a similar set up at his other restaurant, The Richmond."


Two- and four-seater tables throughout the rest of the restaurant are topped with a pastel-coloured coating. Seating is provide by Pal Stools in black – a product by Norwegian designer Hallgeir Homstvedt.

"From early on, we discussed using pastels to introduce some colour," Reid said. "It is a place for fun and laughter, so we didn't want everything to be too super serious."


The candy-like colour palette is continued by the bespoke crockery, designed for the restaurant by Japanese ceramicist Yuka Kikumoto.

These plates and bowls will be used to serve a menu of yakitori dishes that include grilled chicken skewers, meatballs and aubergine.