Lanterns dangle through hole between floors in Aragawa restaurant

Interiors studio Rosendale Design used paper pendants to illuminate hand-painted red-and-gold walls in the first overseas outpost of Japanese steakhouse Aragawa in London.

Set across two floors in a Mayfair townhouse, the restaurant is widely credited as serving the “UK’s most expensive steak” – a £900 cut of wagyu beef from Shiga prefecture.

Entrance to Aragawa restaurant with wood panelled walls
Rosendale Design created the interiors for a Japanese steakhouse in Mayfair

Characterised by a rich palette of deep reds, golds and dark woods, the interior of the steakhouse was “heavily influenced by traditional Japanese architecture and design”, Rosendale Design founder Dale Atkinson told Dezeen.

“We gave it a contemporary twist in a subtle way so it didn’t become kitsch,” he said.

Japanese lanterns hanging into dining area by Rosendale Design
Pendant lights dangle through a void between the ground floor and basement

Upon entering Aragawa, visitors pass through an archway that frames a wood-panelled reception area painted in pale green.

From here, a corridor leads past a wine display cabinet that wraps around the back wall with skylights providing natural illumination.

A private dining room with seats for 12 guests is accessed through glass and wood doors, with a slatted wooden screen partially obstructing the view into the space.

Open kitchen with Japanese kiln by Rosendale Design
A Japanese kiln is surrounded by blue tiles in the kitchen

Pendant lamps that take cues from traditional Japanese paper lanterns hang through a mirror-lined void between the ground floor and the basement, providing views of the main restaurant below.

“The lanterns are one of the key features that are first experienced at ground level but drop down through the opening in the floor and are then a prevalent feature in the main dining room,” said Atkinson.

“We looked at traditional Japanese lanterns and gave it a bit of a contemporary twist.”

Downstairs dining area Aragawa restaurant
More lanterns hang from the latticed ceiling in the dining room

Stairs lead down to the restaurant past an open kitchen, divided from the seating area via an uplit rough-textured counter.

Cornflower-blue tiles clad the walls in the kitchen, where Rosendale Design installed a Japanese kiln.

Used to prepare Aragawa’s speciality, Japanese Kobe beef, the kiln was modelled on the model found in the original Aragawa restaurant in Tokyo, which opened in 1967 and became known as one of the priciest steak houses in the world.

“The feature kiln is the main connection between the restaurants in Tokyo and London,” said Atkinson.

“We worked with a local manufacturer to copy as best we could the kiln in Tokyo but dress it in a way that matches the London design ethos.”

Round tables in seating area of Aragawa restaurant Mayfair
Hand-painted red-and-gold panels line the walls of the dining space

More lanterns are suspended from the dark wood lattice ceiling in the primary dining space.

“The feature ceiling is referencing traditional Japanese castles,” explained Atkinson.

Soft lighting illuminates the red-and-gold panels that line the walls of the dining area, hand-painted with patterns derived from Nishijin silk kimonos.

Curved red velvet seating Aragawa Mayfair
Rosendale Design opted for crimson-red velvet-lined seating

The red colour palette is continued in the red velvet-lined seating, contrasting against white tablecloths.

“We made sure to play with the saturation of colours to make it more dramatic and romantic,” said Atkinson.

Other Japanese restaurants recently featured on Dezeen include a noodle restaurant in a century-old townhouse in Kyoto and a restaurant in Alberta that combines Japanese psychedelia and cabins.

The photography is by Justin De Souza.

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