Commissioned wall panel for izakaya Michizaki (Braga).
The brief was to create a seasonal wall panel, fitting the “Yukiguni” winter storyline – defined as the core theme of the restaurant’s winter season menu. The concept was inspired by “Yukiguni” (“Snow Country”), a literary masterpiece by the first Japanese author to become a Nobel laureate, Yasunari Kawabata. The book is considered by many as a dialogue between the eastern and western cultures, embodied by one of the book’s main characters, Komako, as she tries to adopt very western mannerisms.
We kind of reverse played it, reflecting on how Japanese culture seems to have permeated so much of the western culture, nowadays. Also the book is about the search of company; humanity’s irresistible impulse towards comfort and shelter, so that idea played a huge part on the aesthetic choices, because we had to leverage the bleakness of a winter snowy landscape against the need to create a warm and inviting glow.
Since the dawn of mankind, fire played such a huge part on bringing heat and comfort wherever we went, so the paper lanterns - Tōrō nagashi – a memento for those who passed away - a seemed a natural addition to the scene, also breathing into it a certain sense of wintery melancholia. Because this is a traditional Japanese restaurant, we researched and chose an ukiyo-e inspired style, to stay in line with the brand’s values.
We’ve kept in mind in trying to make the panel warm, but not not too loud, in terms of color or design, in order to play with the restaurant’s prevalent gorgeous furniture design (a play on the famous Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai).
The illustrated panel was later converted into a surimono, a complimentary print to be offered to Michizaki's customers at the end of the season.