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Biwa Redux & New Test Kitchen

The Biwa experience has expanded horizons! Ten years ago, we designed the Biwa Restaurant space in the Central Eastside District. Fast forward to now, the casual Japanese-style restaurant and bar needed an update, with a goal to add a combination private dining space and prep kitchen down the hall from the original space.

Biwa is located in the mixed-use Pine Street Studios Building. We used the existing qualities and materials in the original restaurant space, and redefined it by adding a new copper-covered bar and designing two distinct lounge areas. Our design challenge for this space included maintaining the functionality of the existing open kitchen. We created interlocking lengths of wood sections arranged in vertical and horizontal planes, which screened the kitchen. These are attached to a stainless steel tube structure that bridges across all areas of the space and links back to the new bar.

The new 600 square foot private dining and “test kitchen” space is located in the same building as the original restaurant. It is settled in an intimate space with a more focused character. We layered the existing surfaces with new materials and colors: a palette of light wood wall panels and a wrap-around bar height banquette, dark steel details, and zinc tables and counters.

The defining qualities of the guest area include two seating heights, and several ceiling levels that transition from the entry into the main space. Lower seats at the chef's counter allow for viewing and service of hot and cold dishes directly from the compact stainless steel kitchen area. The all-electric kitchen is partially screened by a hanging custom steel framework that provides for display, selected storage and ambient light diffusion.

In both the new and the original spaces, the lighting schema includes simple track lighting with LED fixtures, discreet and soft lighting sources, and features several other pendants and artist designed light fixtures.

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