You’d easily miss Sushi Takigawa if not keen to its surroundings. Tucked away in a former dry-cleaners shop in Fukuoka, the counter-service restaurant is modestly sized at 20 sq-m. But, thanks to Koichi Futatsumata and Riki Harada of the locally headquartered studio Case-Real, that was all the space needed for the restauranteur to make its presence known in the neighbourhood.

Past the stuccoed exterior – designed to blend seamlessly with the environs – are distinctive interiors. Futatsumata and Harada’s client wanted to use the small space to the restaurant’s advantage, putting the culinary action at the heart. This, because of the size of the restaurant, depended on a strategically built counter. Aiming to maximize available seating, the designers found a solution in installing the gingko-wood surface parallel to the curved wall.

Radially spreading from the kitchen to the guests, tapered ceilings also help achieve the sought-after sense of intimacy. Air conditioning and other equipment are contained within the ceiling as much as possible, limiting visual noise; in addition, all cooking utilities, aside those used for preparation, are hidden from sight.

Reflective of the minimalistic ethos that went into the project, a simple blank wall frames the chef, highlighting the craftsmanship that goes into each meal.