Into the Looking Glass

Into the Looking Glass

JAPAN: Interior designers Katsunori Suzuki and Eiichi Maruyama, of Fantastic Design Works, in Japan, have created ‘Alice in Magic World’ as part of the fourth Alice in Wonderland series by Diamond Dining in Shinjuku, Tokyo, based on the book by Lewis Carroll.

The 228.11m2 restaurant combines imagery and designs to create the feeling of falling down a rabbit hole for guests.

The predominant theme running throughout the venue is the Queen of Hearts and her deck of cards, with waitresses dressed as Alice.

Maruyama said the design took one-and-a-half months to complete and was based on the original story of Alice in Wonderland and the concept of magic.

The entrance to Alice in Magic World is decorated with images from the original book by Carroll, and walking through the door is like walking through the page of a book, according to the designers.

“The door that opens to allow visitors to enter the restaurant doesn’t look like a door at all. It is more like an entire wall panel (or what looks like a page of a book), which opens up so that customers can literally step through the looking glass,” said Maruyama.

“The entrance is decorated with life-size books and a clever part about it is the automatic door. When guests enter, they definitely feel a sense of wonderment regarding the scale of the books.”

Customers see oversized vintage books, mirrored walls, and polished checkered floors when they enter. The restaurant is divided into different sections, each of which is designed based on elements of the book.

There is a large red table in the shape of a heart, with a dramatic red chandelier hanging above it, made up of small red hearts. Other areas have playing cards on the table tops, with red seating.

Images of the original prints are used as wallcoverings. “We used the original story’s art graphics as a wall accent and made what we call a pop image,” said Maruyama.

Artificial grass resembling classic English hedges surround some of the tea-cup booths. Maruyama said the main dining area is based on the infamous tea party scene, where “we used completely different classic chairs and fabrics.”

Designing a fantasy space was not without its challenges. “The ceiling was very low. So we tried to give the guests the same feeling as Alice — to make them feel as if they had grown in size like Alice in the first part of the book. Then we designed some scale out elements, for example the area with the large books, the mirrored door wall and the dotted design on the ceiling,” said Maruyama.

“The other restaurants are only open at night, whereas this one remains open during the day. We also tried to change the design to make it a little fancier.

“We used gimmicks and design elements to surprise our customers so that when a guest moves to a different part of the restaurant, they see something from a different perspective that makes them enjoy the experience over and over again. This shows the true worth of a fantasy restaurant,” he added.

For more pictures, go here.

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