Articles / Apartment Design

With a Japanese flavour - Traditional meets modern in Japanese restaurant by Blu Water Studio

Want to know more?

Contact us

Traditional meets modern in Japanese restaurant by Blu Water Studio

With a Japanese flavour - Traditional meets modern in Japanese restaurant by Blu Water Studio

Traditional meets modern in Japanese restaurant by Blu Water Studio


Ambience is a crucial ingredient of every restaurant – the decor not only sets the scene but also heightens awareness and creates a sense of anticipation and excitement.

When Blu Water Studio was commissioned to design the Tatsu Japanese Cuisine restaurant in the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, the design team took its inspiration from tradition, but added a modern twist.

The project designer says one of the key design influences was sculptor Isamu Noguchi's contemporary perception of traditional Japanese design and his appreciation of natural materials.

"Our design approach was to bring traditional Japanese elements to a new realisation through our own interpretation, creating a placid and tranquil dining experience."

A reflecting pond and an oversized white lantern suspended above a bed of pebbles enhance the sense of arrival for diners. So, too, does a series of screens, which allow tantalising glimpses of the restaurant beyond. The screens are layered in contrasting materials, ranging from natural wood battens to more intricate metal mesh.


"From the entrance, the restaurant interior is also built up in layers," says the designer. "At the front is the central island sushi bar, which is enveloped in slabs of natural granite. The bar has a solid timber ledge that invites diners to immerse themselves in the action."

Beyond the sushi bar is the open dining area. Each table is illuminated by an individual spotlight to create an intimate ambience. There are also layers of lights made from sake cups surrounding the open dining area and sushi bar. These lights help to define the key circulation areas.

A teppanyaki counter is positioned beyond a large communal chef's table; and the designers have incorporated glittering glass and steel display shelving for wine and sake bottles. The lounge bar has softer, more muted finishes and a more relaxed style of seating.

Blu Water Studio also designed four private dining rooms, three of which can be converted into one large dining hall, with a space allocated for semi-private dining.

"To tie all these dining spaces together, there is a suspended screen of stacked sake bottles right around the perimeter," says the designer.

"Overall, there is a strong juxtaposition of materials – solid slabs of stone and timber are contrasted by crushed bamboo and soft paper lanterns, metal mesh screens, granite floor slabs laid in a tatami-style pattern, and kimono-inspired wall reliefs. We also punctuated the natural brown tones with the colour blue, which can be seen in the Oriental seat cushions and ceramic sake bottles."

Blu Water Studio says the Tatsu project has already been recognised with a design award – it won an Honorary Mention in the Bar & Restaurant category of the Malaysian Interior Design Awards (MIDA) 2011.

For details, contact Blu Water Studio Sdn Bhd, B-1-1, Block B, First Floor, Megan Avenue 1, 189 Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur 50400, Malaysia. Tel: (+603) 2163 4689. Fax: (+603) 2163 4686.Website:

Share your comments about this Article 1 Comments

  • HUI YI
    HUI YI Sun Mar 30 2014 12:26:39 GMT+0800 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time)

    Tatsu Japanese Restaurant by Blu Water