This Tokyo restaurant shows how you can be impactful with colour – without using colour

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 Best Use of Colour: Nôl by Case-Real. Find the full collection of reports in our upcoming May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134.

Tokyo – What might seem like a surprising winner for this particular category, Nôl – a restaurant serving French haute cuisine in the heart of Tokyo – stole the jury’s hearts with its anti-colour approach. The absence of colour ‘allowed us to focus solely on the theatre of cooking,’ said Pallavi Dean, founder and creative director of Roar. Case-Real impressed by carefully dosing its ingredients: gradation, stucco paint and an intricate lighting scheme.

Contemporary design curator Valentina Guidi Ottobri pointed out that ‘most black rooms can be experienced as cold and austere, but Nôl stands out for its great use of the entire palette, showing how an all-black interior can turn out soft and balanced’. All judges agreed that the dark-hued space does not compete with, or distract from, the objective of a restaurant: it highlights the clear distinctions of a stage (the kitchen) and an audience (the guests).

Case-Real proved that the best use of colour doesn’t have to be colourful with its black-on-black restaurant, Nôl.

An open-plan interior allows the two elements to alternate smoothly when food is brought to the table. The jury believed that at Nôl, the food truly is the star. Just as a garnish adds the final flourish to a dish, they envisioned the food becoming the last – and only – splash of colour in the interior. In that way, the space becomes a backdrop for the vibrant palette on each plate to shine through. 

casereal.com

The People’s Choice award for Best Use of Colour went to Wonder Galaxy by Patricia Bustos Studio.

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