Behind the Scenes: The Story of brushstroke
Artisanal Design 一筆
Architect: Super Potato
Brushstroke is the work of the design firm Super Potato and its founder and lead designer Takashi Sugimoto. Since 1971, Sugimoto has created richly textured quality spaces, “super” both in his determination to find unique expression independent from fads of the day and in the creative energy apparent in both the design process and completed works.
As for “potato,” the humble tuber has provided sustenance through times of hardship but has rarely been considered a muse for serious design. What does it signify? the potato has an inherent history to which everyone can relate, and from which it unassumingly gives forth information. This is also the case in Super Potato’s designs. used and salvaged materials add depth and layers of meaning. Alone, the potato is plain, simple, and humble, yet with vast potential; combined with “super,” it becomes something never before imagined.
The same can be said for the work of Super Potato: familiar, yet never before imagined; richly exotic, yet with a stark simplicity; original, yet not disconnected from the past.
Implementing a Shared Vision
Yoshiyuki Takashiro is a project designer for Super Potato, based in Tokyo. A graduate of Musashino Art University, he has collaborated on numerous projects with Super Potato since 2001. In 2012 he established his own product and design firm, Moto Co. “The black metal partition will fit in the wooded dining area, creating a strong contrast with the interior finishing. The existing space was created with simple materials, such as steel, wood, stone, paper, soil, glass. This partition will be like artwork, a communication to connect the customer.”
Ryushi Koshiba is service director at The Tsuji Culinary Institute. He has been the liaison between Tsuji professors, the Bouley team, and Brushstroke chefs both in Osaka and the United States since the project’s inception.
Osamu Wakai, a lighting consultant, graduated from Musashino Art University and worked for 19 years as an in-house designer for a lighting manufacturer. He formed the company Hikari Design in 2006, working on projects from the United States to Seoul.
Aki Miyazono is project director of YT design in the United States. Aki oversaw such consultants as the designer, architect, general manager Michael Ko of Top Plus Design, engineers, and the building owner. He worked closely with Chef Bouley, Yoshiki Tsuji, and Super Potato to help maintain the balance between the design concept and project budget. In 2011 he established his own firm ‘Blank Design.’
Yasuhiro Tabata, assistant designer for YT Design, studied at California State University – Fresno, in architecture and interior design and helped coordinate all of the vendors as well as construct the space.
Nicole Bartelme is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and founder of the nonprofit TriBeCa Native. Nicole is responsible for logo design and brand identity. Brushstroke’s logo, with a calligraphy ink brushstroke at the foundation, is a collage made from boro robes, the linen of Shinto pilgrims, and the silk of a 1940s obi. The menu covers are made from horsehair, the interior artwork a collaboration of sketches from Tsuji professors.
Daichi Sato was a student of the Musashino Art University at the same time as Takashiro. Sugimoto, also a professor at the university, was very interested in Sato’s final project for graduation. Sugimoto asked him to create studies of dioramas for the Brushstroke project, for which Takashiro gave Sato keywords that should “relate to food culture, could be scene of old culture, warm feeling, universal, general, must be common.” At the end, Sato presented six sketches, and Takashiro selected the final three.
Yeohlee Teng, a fashion designer, chose the fabrics and created the first phase of the uniforms and aprons, as well as the graceful, fluid fabric that provides a connection between the customer and the architecture of the environment. Her designer flagship store is located in NYC’s historic garment district. Yeohlee’s designs have earned a permanent place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume collection.
Japanese rice paper on windows (preciouspieces.com) and metal plating around the entrance area from a scrap-yard recycling vendor in Staten Island complete the décor. Takashiro and Tabata visited several times, selecting old rusted fragments piece by piece. Selected metal was delivered to michael Ko’s shop and treated, chiseled, and sealed for protection, then sent to a cutting vender before delivered to the site, where it was installed, welded, accented, cut by a burner to make cracks, and touched up.