Ken”虔”, in Japanese, means “respect”. The Chef of Ken Japanese Restaurant, Wanda San, wants food to be treated with respect through the stages of hard work of vegetable picking, fish catching, transporting, cooking, and finally serving. Ken is a contemporary Japanese restaurant -inspired by a traditional Japanese dining experience and influenced by modern Australian cuisine. The interior of Ken Japanese restaurant is designed in response to creating a modern fusion Japanese perception with a blend of urban sophistication.

Key Features


Its emphasis on the purity of traditional Japanese cuisine, integrate with local modern Australian cuisine. The interior infused with Japanese sensibility, craftsmanship, and presentation by creating a theatrical backdrop at the serving counter; visible from the dining area. The Openness of the sushi bar with an intimate view of chefs carefully slicing salmon, tuna, etc. The brief to create a modern Japanese essence with a blend of urban sophistication, interaction among the patrons. Contemporary materials range from smooth timber to sleek marble creating warmth and welcoming effects. An array of dark timber alongside raw timber to convey an authentic articulation.


Sourcing local materials is one of our main approaches to creating a sustainable design. It gives us control over the materials to prevent any material wastage and avoid long-distance transportation. Low VOC paint & materials, low energy lights, and hardwood furniture also the sustainable elements that the design has incorporated. The durability and level of maintenance of the materials are also part of the important criteria that we need to consider throughout the design so that material wastages can be cut down. External timber grain cladding has been utilised on the Itamae counter, for it long life cycle.


The fusion of traditional Japanese architecture and the contemporary provokes an interior space that celebrates the traditional Japanese dining experience that is influenced by modern Australian cuisine. The choices of bar seating and normal seating in Ken Japanese could cater to different customer’s preferences of a more informal setting that gives ease to the customers that come into the shop or a more formal one. This notion works well as Melbourne / Beaumaris is a multicultural community, so this flexibility can attract different people to enjoy Japanese cuisine. Thus, it will become a congregation area that brings more excitement into the dining atmosphere.


To ensure the freshest food can be immediately delivered into the chef’s hands, the back of the house and Itamae preparation area are connected closely to each other while embodying its distinctiveness in a semi-open shape. The customers in the front of the house area are surrounded by a flattering ambient glow, where the wall lamps emit warm, diffused lighting. The sake display cabinet and the open kitchen area, however, have a higher level of brightness for preparation work to be carried out and creating this strong visual contract to highlight the different sake products to the customers.


Behind the sake bar, the wall is lined with timber with a unique texture and illuminated with warm lighting. This feature highlights the use of extensive use of timber in Japanese architecture and culture. In traditional Japanese architecture, timber was given great respect and not concealed by paint or other coatings; it was used in its natural form so that the grain could be appreciated. This notion ties in with the concept of Ken Japanese about respect and appreciation. Black suspended pipe shelves at the sake bar, on the other hand, adds a contemporary twist to the interior. The use of dark render on the wall within a limited space has generated a poetic, secretive, and serenity space through the internal space.

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