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Pared down interiors act as the backdrop for inventive sushi in Austin, Texas


By Tanvi Chheda Photography by TK


H •


oused in an adaptive reuse building in the north-central Austin neighborhood of Rosedale, Uchiko is a Japanese


farmhouse-inspired restaurant. “What that means is we were going for an honest simplicity,” explains local architect Michael Hsu, who was behind this project and its sister restaurant, Uchi. “We wanted it to be very clean and unadorned, not overdone or overdesigned.” Hsu’s design is still modern, but his materials


tend toward the rustic, with reclaimed woods like rough-cut walnut and pecan, and metals such as bronze and stainless steel playing a central role in the structure and décor. “The character-grade walnut has white streaks in it; the pecan shows a lot of weathering and grain to it,” he


says. “Showing the materials wear with age was important.” Along with these materials, Hsu achieved


simplicity by steering away from sweeping architectural gestures, focusing instead on smaller scale textures and experiences. He broke down the 5,000-square-foot space into different seating sections, including an entry bar area, a dining room with a low ceiling, a higher-energy sushi bar space, and other private dining areas. “The industry is moving away from the one giant dining room that was popular in the ’90s,” Hsu says.


Custom-built furniture and treatments feature


heavily in each of the restaurant’s sections. Just opposite the entry bar area is a pine wall; the


GS MAGAZINE 53


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