This Ramen Shop Takes Inspiration From Old Video Games - BluPrint

Dining in Pixelation: This Ramen Shop Takes Inspiration From Old Video Games

June 22, 2022



Rick Formalejo

In the age of social media, the restaurant’s architecture and design have played a crucial role in encouraging repeat business alongside quality food and superior customer service. Many restaurants create a buzz online, not only because they serve delicious food but also their places are Instagram-worthy, from having quirky interiors to using unconventional materials.

Walking down the streets of Okinawa in Japan, there is a ramen shop that is not easy to miss. With its exterior clad with noodle-like pixel art patterns, video game fans and ramen enthusiasts alike would definitely be drawn in. Inside, the shop will take the customers to the video game world. 

“Kaishin No Ichigeki” is a new ramen shop in Okinawa designed by 07BEACH. The name, which the owner personally picked, is a signature phrase from a popular role-playing game (RPG) that guarantees nostalgia for everyone. Elements from early video games, such as dots, low-resolution, and uniquely familiar are the architect’s inspiration for the restaurant’s overall design. Although it’s video game-inspired, the restaurant was designed abstractly to some extent rather than to be too childish game atmosphere. 

A Freshly Unique Interior Using Ordinary Materials

07BEACH explains the materials used in the restaurant are commonplace and inexpensive, including white ceramic tile, wood, cement, and carpet tiles. Regardless, the combination and the forms of these materials make the place unique. 

Since it’s a ramen shop, the architect incorporated a wavy noodle-like pattern on the walls using white tiles on a gray mortar. Spacing the noodle pattern farther apart would have made it more recognizable. The stripe impression, however, would be stronger. The architect decided to apply something like a checkered pattern that is broken up a little and not quite recognizable.

The signboard outside that says “つけめん” (“Tsukemen” is dipping noodles, the shop’s signature) is made up of cubes that resemble 3D development of pixel art. The architect revealed that it is simply cubes of wood stacked and painted yellow. This concept fits the overall design and catches the attention of passersby. 

The placement of the condiments is another playful detail in this ramen shop. According to the architect, the client has requested to have something that can hide the condiments, like a drawer, to avoid having them on the tabletop and creating a mess. Instead of hiding them, the architect designed the condiment pedestal. They treated the condiments like an item one can get in game, so putting more condiments makes the interior better. 

A Fun Dining Experience

Designing the seating area is crucial in restaurants. Customers should be able to enjoy the food comfortably. For this ramen shop, the architect designed the seating area for groups to look like a game castle. It has a low wall to prevent children from falling and to create a private room feel. Despite the wood and ceramic tile tops, and the carpet tiles of the floor being ordinary materials, their combination and forms look unique.

Lastly, the round legs of the chairs are ready-made and foreign to the interior filled with squares and straight lines. This detail makes the space friendlier than adherence to the design concept, the architect explains. 

Photos by Yoshiaki Ida

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