Oiji Mi Korean restaurant in New York

AvroKO draws on Korean culture for Oiji Mi restaurant in New York

Traditional designs from Korea, from houses to hairpins, are reworked to create the interiors of this Manhattan restaurant by New York studio AvroKO.

AvroKo, a studio that focuses on hospitality, completed Oiji Mi, an upscale Korean dining spot in the Flatiron District – an area once home to over 100 social clubs during the Gilded Age.

Custom chandeliers arc from columns
Elements throughout Oiji Mi informed by traditional Korean designs include custom lighting

"Oiji Mi's design recalls these classic Manhattan social clubs through bold marbles, rich leather and velvet fabrics and dark walnut woods, but reimagines them to represent the fusion of Korean and American culture," said the design studio.

AvroKO based the main dining room on a hanok, a traditional Korean home dating back to the 14th century.

Main dining room with teal walls
Interlocking wooden beams mimic those used to build hanok houses

Interlocking timber beams across the ceiling and walls mimic those used to construct the hanok, while gridded partitions echo the windows and screens found inside.

A wooden flooring system known as daecheong runs through the restaurant, from the bar area at the front to the open dining space behind.

Bar area
The bar is located at the front of the space, while the dining area is found behind

Lighting is also based on the shapes and textures of Korean jewellery, and decorative hairpins called binyeo.

Among these bespoke designs are pendants suspended straight above the tables, bead-like sconces and chandeliers that arc out from a central column.

"The designers also brought in elements of dansaekhwa, or the repetition of action which is known to stabilise and restore those in its presence," AvroKO said.

This principle is apparent in the use of textiles, such as a custom installation above the bar influenced by jogakbo, a style that uses patchwork to create flowing patterns and shapes.

Host stand
Materials like walnut and brass are used to evoke the social clubs of the Gilded Age

Tabletops of walnut and marble accompany a palette of teal and claret across the walls and upholstery.

Mirrored and tinted metal panels under the tall ceilings make the space feel larger, and also harken back to the Gilded Age clubs.

Banquette with mirrored panels above
Mirrored panels help to visually extend the dining space

AvroKO is behind the designs of many well-known restaurants and hotels in New York City and beyond.

The firm's recent projects have included a members' club in Chicago and an eatery and entertainment space in Nashville.

The photography is by Christian Harder.

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