Nacrée — Sendai, Japan
In any other pair of hands, the execution of a ‘light and flower’ themed French restaurant would verge on gimmicky. Under the guidance of Kengo Kuma and Associates, however, it’s handled with creativity and a light touch. Located in the Japanese prefecture of Miyagi, Nacrée takes diners on an idyllic journey, where a wave of vertical clear acrylic tubes snake around a dining room, sporadically filled with floral arrangements and mirrored by a series of cylindrical vessels that contain subtle lighting. The effect is fresh, organic and bright, with the transparency of the curtain wall bathing the entire space in a natural light that fluctuates in intensity as the day goes on.
The floral theme continues throughout, winding all the way through to the restaurant’s dark wood bar area, which sits in stark contrast to the main dining room. Here, Kuma has positioned uniform sticks of bamboo to dangle at various lengths from the ceiling, each one wrapped in artificial vines. Exposed industrial pipes running along the ceiling offer a stark contrast to the botanical motif, cutting through its sweetness and providing a sense of equilibrium to the space. Chef Minoru Ogata’s menu, on the other hand, is an apt reflection of the flowery décor, with a series of colourful and dainty modern French dishes, leaning heavily on fish and seafood.