Umami is the word for fifth taste, together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness. The owner of Umami restaurant in Zagreb wanted the restaurant space to encourage and communicate exploration, the same as his cooking philosophy which can be described like this: every dish can be «new» and different when exploring and experimenting with spices and sauces and with fusion of the unexpected.
The same as he wants to intrigue his guests with unique food, the space needed to be different from the rest as well – to feel relaxed and open to experiment. This is a city restaurant for people who want a quick and healthy meal. So another feature to think about was a short stay and availability.
The spatial concept of Umami restaurant is Feed Your Curiosity. Inspired with the 5 tastes (umami is the fifth taste), this space engages all 5 senses – taste and smell, of course, as well as sight, sound and touch. The usage of colors is also focused on 5 almost basic ones – red, yellow, blue, green and orange.
The idea of a scientific laboratory where creative ideas are being «cooked in» is reflected in all kinds of colored tubes that infiltrate the space. They are visible on the ceilings, lighting equipment, chairs, shelves…
By leaving the installations visible a feeling of openness is symbolically achieved, the same as with the open kitchen. There’s also an open coffee and tea corner – once you pay, you pour it yourself. The water tap is self-service too.
Maximum interaction possible is also transferred to the restaurant walls. We made a colorful interactive wall containing boxes. Guests are invited to explore their contents – spices, fruit, social games, cookbooks with food philosophy similar to Umami.
The seating is zoned as high, middle and low with custom designed «uncomfortably comfortable» chairs – Umamica-s. Depending on if you wait for a pre-order take-out, or you are grabbing a quick bite, or if you want to eat in a group.
Brigada (part of Bruketa&Žinić OM group) / Damjan Geber (Creative Director), Marina Brletić (Architecture Project Manager), Ivana Validžić (Project Manager), Ena Tadej (Architect), Vlatka Leskovar (Product Designer)
Igor Manasteriotti (Interior Graphics Designer)
Domagoj Blažević (Photographer)