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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Driven by the Soil

By Teresa Simon
Photography: Nahoko Koide; courtesy: Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop

Itoman Gyomin Shokudo by Kentaro Design Workshop
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Itoman Gyomin Shokudo is touted as a ‘locally-sourced’ restaurant catering to the promotion of local tradition and culture through its cuisine...  

Located in Itoman, Okinawa, Japan, and literally culled from its very nature – that of fishing and Ryuku limestone, native to Itoman, the restaurant is a masonry-workshop-based result, where locals were encouraged to participate in the building exercise using the traditional "Nozura-Zatsuzumi".
 
Itoman Gyomin Shokudo by Kentaro Design Workshop
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The nozura-zumi style of architecture is one in which stones of all shapes and sizes are piled on top of each other; the large stones embedded into an earthen embankment, and the smaller rocks and stones are pushed in to fill the gaps. The local fishermen are known to often construct their tenements in this style using the locally abundant Ryuku limestone.

Itoman Gyomin Shokudo by Kentaro Design Workshop
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Itoman Gyomin Shokudo by Kentaro Design Workshop
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Using a wooden framework, structural designers Ryuji and Takayuki Tabata nurtured local artisans to create the facade while the interiors are simple, subdued and minimalist. Sunken gardens are beautifully landscaped around a raised seating platform creating a spatial balance and a distinct ambience.

Itoman Gyomin Shokudo by Kentaro Design Workshop
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Itoman Gyomin Shokudo by Kentaro Design Workshop
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The single-slab flat roof on top of the facade functions to shield the interior from the hot Okinawa sun, while the all sides of the restaurant are open to the gentle breeze.  The entire structure in stone juxtaposed with natural wood also gives rise to a serene, comfortable aesthetic that instantly connects with the ethos of the place. Minimalist landscaping by Takio Inada completes the picture. 

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