To give our audience eyes and ears into the live judging sessions that took place at Frame Awards 2020, we're sharing coverage of the insightful jury conversations that decided the winning projects. Below, we celebrate the recipient of the award for Restaurant of the Year: a members-only sushi venue by DDAA. Find the full collection of reports in our newly released May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134.

The deliberations for Restaurant of the Year were longer than anticipated, but not because the jury members couldn’t make up their minds. Quite the contrary: they simply could not stop talking about how much they loved a members-only sushi venue by DDAA.

The project recalls the makeshift temporary food stalls where sushi was originally served to a limited number of customers who could witness the chef’s preparations at close range. The architects took design cues from a previous restaurant for the client, according to a concept that they describe as renga, or ‘linked-verse poetry’. They turned preparing sushi into a theatrical performance, or, as Baranowitz + Kronenberg cofounder Irene Kronenberg described it: ‘It is an art installation – a ritual almost.’

The precision and personality of the restaurant were lauded across the board. Peter Bundgaard Rützou of Space Copenhagen highlighted the material consciousness, with the juxtaposition of roughly cut matte stone and shiny copper-plated scaffolding elements reflective of the product being prepared and served by the chef.

The jury was wholeheartedly united in its selection of DDAA’s project as Restaurant of the Year, admiring the project’s precision and personality.

The discussion even touched upon values such as truth, honesty and the meaning of life a design approach like DDAA’s represents in today’s modern society. That all being said, could this project work in any other context than Japan, Tokyo?

For Alon Baranowitz, the space represents ‘true design, with fewer means, with less money. There’s nothing there and there’s a world there.’ According to Howard Sullivan, cofounder and creative director of YourStudio, ‘every image is seductive’. He called attention to ‘the materials, the delicacy and the poetry. It’s got such a twist to it. Even though it’s so quiet and simple, it’s quite noisily wabi-sabi in every way.’

Read more about the project here. Frame Awards 2020's Hospitality category was proudly sponsored by Orgatec. The People's Choice award went to NENI by Concrete.