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Designer Josianne Bérubé transforms a former secondhand clothing store into the bold and beautiful Taka Ramen and Sushi.
Function used to come first for this 1,350-square-foot space in Squamish: the property was once a bank, then a secondhand clothing store. But when restaurateurs David Yuji Kite and Maki Kite took it over, style became just as important: they were set on serving sushi, ramen and a gorgeous interior. The Kites brought in Squamish-based designer Josianne Bérubé to transform the spot into a modern Japanese eatery called Taka Ramen and Sushi. First step: demolishing the old concrete safe and turning that space into the back-of-house kitchen area. Then, it was time to focus on the dining room.
“We wanted to make the space functional—and in traditional Japanese style—but also more modern and minimalist,” says Bérubé. For example, wood window screens are a classic sight on the outside of Japanese restaurants, but the designer and owners opted to bring that vibe inside, so that diners can see out and hungry lunch-seekers can see in. The result is stunning beech millwork that delineates the room without creating a boxed-in feeling.
Beech wood continues through the benches, chairs and bar area. The sushi bar is the main focus of the restaurant, emphasized by a wood-slat dropped ceiling and pendant lighting from Montreal-based Studio Botté. “To me, the chef is like an artist; we wanted a large bar for him to showcase his craft,” says the designer. The lights from Botté are made of recycled fans (the metal cage part, to be specific) and are rarely seen outside of Montreal—they are not typically shipped long distances. “The designer usually delivers his lights by bike to his clients,” explains Bérubé, who negotiated an exception for this project.
In this minimalist space, the beauty is in the material—the European beech, blackened cedar planks and fans-turned-lights have an understated elegance. “It’s efficient, cozy and timeless,” Bérubé says.
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