Functional design: eclectic hospitality furniture for Sushisamba, London

Here at the Bill Amberg Studio, we take pride in working to unique and challenging briefs that push the boundaries of  designing with leather. One such project was developing hospitality furniture for the highly acclaimed Sushisamba restaurant in London.

The task here was to come up with a series of furniture that makes use of the space with efficiency while maximizing the number of seats that can be accommodated comfortably. The project brief required us to present three different type of table tops, two different sizes of banquette seats, and two kinds of waiter’s stations.

Sushisamba brings together the culture and cuisine of three distinct countries; Japan, Brazil and Peru. As well as the cuisine, the influence of these three cultures is profound on the nature of the interior décor of each restaurant, forming a unique and high quality dining experience. For the London restaurant, the client shared that we were to ensure the furniture reflected this multicultural and eclectic style of cuisine.

Working to a very specific brief, the design team were also faced with spatial constraints onsite; located on the 38th floor, it was vital to consider the space available for transporting the furniture up to the restaurant space in the lifts. Getting such large furniture pieces to the restaurant levels was not an easy task and so the design team had to be very careful while dimensioning everything so that it could fit in the lift and through the corridors.

For the banquette seats, the wooden box cases have been designed to be as less intrusive as possible by capitalising on the space available. Carefully designed ultra-thin surrounding boxes kept the dimensions and weight in touch allowing easy installation and ease for the future if a layout change should become necessary. To solve the issue of transporting the large banquette seats into the building, a mechanism was included to the wooden box so the seats can be separated during transit and placed back onto the wooden boxes efficiently on site. Further to the detachable seats, a set of wheels on each component further enabled ease of transportation from the workshop to the restaurant floors.

For the dining tables, a precision laser cut wood technique was incorporated to achieve an embellished design on the surface. A high glossy finish was created by adding extra layers of lacquer to maintain the original look against daily wear. Each piece of furniture from the dining tables to the staff stations, were custom made by specialist manufactures sourced by the Bill Amberg Studio to ensure they were of the best quality and made to last. The final result achieves the key requirements of our client, supported by our expertise and knowledge of working with leather. The restaurant space is highly flexible and comfortable for staff and customers alike and a reflection of the extremely high standards of the Sushisamba brand.

Further to the banquettes, the client requested we design two bespoke waiter stations that would merge in with the rest of the interior space whilst supporting the high level of staff activity. Inspired by Japanese Shoji screens, the waiter station has been made to the specific dimensions of each of the objects it will store, with every ledge and drawer in place for a very precise purpose, based on the input from the waiting staff themselves. Even the rubbish compartments have been thoughtfully designed with water-resistant inside surfaces for easy cleaning.  A separate back compartment keeps wires separated away neatly whilst castors on the base provide easy movement around the dining areas. Finally, a special finish is applied to the outer surfaces to ensure they are resistant to damage and daily wear.