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Award-winning creative agency, Design Clarity, has partnered with hospitality group Lotus Dining to deliver a transportive refined dining experience at Sydney’s Barangaroo. The 146-seater restaurant & bar takes advantage of harbour views and offers 3 private dining spaces. The Fujisaki experience is centred on nurturing, generosity and integrity. Guests are invited into a state of calm and luxury, where colours are rich, texture is heightened and the delicate detailing of the interior balances with the artistry of flavours delivered by an impressive line-up: Executive chef Chui Lee Luk, sushi chef, Ryuichi Yoshii and sommelier Annette Lacey.

Design for Fujisaki was initiated with a brand workshop where 4 creative principles were defined in collaboration with the client and design team: Authenticity – the selection of natural and refined materials representing both traditional and contemporary Japanese culture and culinary language – expressed using stone, water, timber and fire. Quality – of both the environment and the cuisine, to provide a transportive experience with traditional rituals, food theatre and ceremony.

Innovation – the kitchen aims to translate traditional forms of cooking into a refined contemporary artform, with the robata grill and raw bar as centrepiece to the space. Respect – capturing the essence of an age-old culture reinterpreted for relevancy within a premium Sydney city waterfront site. The signature touchpoints, architectural details and the use of materiality are vital to encourage a sense of escapism and expression of the cultural fusion of Fujisaki. The wall of mirrors creates atmosphere and movement, referencing the ripples of reflective pools in Japan. The brass lighting in the long private dining room was inspired by Japanese Alpine village lights.

A VIP tatami room caters for the corporate crowd and there’s a third luxurious velvet-walled private dining room. Deep “Japan Blue” is a traditional Japanese colour attributed to purity and authenticity. Intense and almost black, this colour is applied to Fujisaki’s walls and ceilings in different textures as a receding backdrop to the architectural features. Veined natural onyx stone is rear illuminated in monolithic sheet forming the surround to the central theatrical robata grill cooking area, and highlights the slate raw bar where you can sit and be captivated by Yoshii as he performs – shaping and blowtorching his creations.

Translucent slatelite can be seen in the backlit sake wall behind the cocktail bar, dining room ceilings and cladding the bespoke temperature controlled wine room interior. Charred timber ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ is an ancient Japanese technique for preserving timber planks using fire to ensure longevity. The deeply textural solid timber has a blue/black sheen and can be seen as a recurring motif behind the banquettes, extending to full height wall cladding along the private dining rooms. Brass gold detailing occurs throughout and even extends to the restaurant’s own art collection in the form of ‘Kintsugi’, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with dusted gold.

Design Clarity introduced a collaboration with Keiko Matsui, a Japanese Australian artist and ceramicist who creates refined sculptural porcelain artpieces, which sit alongside the succulents and living bonsai in the different dining spaces. “We felt Keiko’s artwork connected beautifully with the values of the Fujisaki brand,” explains Kristina Hetherington, Managing Director at Design Clarity. “A fusion of Japanese and Australian influences, both traditional and modern”.

Design: Design Clarity
Photography: Ryan Linnegar and Brett Stevens

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