Keiji Ashizawa Design Plans Grillno Restaurant in Tokyo Around its Open Kitchen

The concrete counter with curved ends was made by a plaster craftsman. Photography by Tomooki Kengaku.

In Tokyo, Grillno is an intimate and welcoming restaurant designed around its open kitchen. “The project started for my old good friend [who is a chef],” says Keiji Ashizawa, founder of Tokyo-based studio Keiji Ashizawa Design. “Grillno is the second restaurant we [did] together.”

The brief to create the space, which seats 26 diners, was based on a few keywords: fun, relaxing, friendship, and family. The architect first planned the open kitchen and its long concrete counter with a lighting fixture in steel hanging above it.

“We tried to achieve a [calm] atmosphere with moments of tension to match the food and hospitality, says Ashizawa. Then, he used rough materials and neutral colors such as grey and black, and worked with craftsmen to bring Grillno to life. Opened since last September, this Japanese restaurant is as comfortable as it is elegant, simple, and timeless.

The aesthetic of Grillno is characterized by simplicity and minimalism. Photography by Tomooki Kengaku.
An Ishinomaki Laboratory poster by graphic designer Tomoya Kaishi adorns the wall. Photography by Tomooki Kengaku.
This horizontal lighting fixture in steel was crafted by metalworking studio Super Robot. Photography by Tomooki Kengaku.
The black wooden chairs were designed by Drill Design for Time & StylePhotography by Tomooki Kengaku.
Wood-wool cement boards cover the walls of the restaurant, creating texture effects. Photography by Tomooki Kengaku.
The sconces and pendant bulbs are by New Light PotteryPhotography by Tomooki Kengaku.
Keiji Ashizawa used a restrained and neutral color and material palette throughout. Photography by Tomooki Kengaku.
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