Nicolas O. S. Marques

Umami Burger
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles
Tel: 323.954.8626
Design: Kanner Architects

When you visit the Grove in Los Angeles, the one thing you want more than anything is a break from all the stimulation. It seems that Kanner Architects understood that with its new restaurant for Umami Burger, that blends contemporary style and soft, natural elements in a hard-to-find niche near the center’s parking garage.

Built into an existing Mediterranean knockoff, the modern restaurant immediately distinguishes itself with its sleek and large dark bamboo entry portals that extend from the structure’s envelope. The walls of the open space, also bordered by dark bamboo, are covered with real seaweed, embedded in resin, and backlit by LED lighting. Dining tables and simple booths are made of pickled wood. And all the surfaces are sourced from reclaimed materials, like the recycled paper louvers, Kirei bamboo and fiberboard, and salvaged aluminum countertops.

Outside, a bamboo-edged seating area is lined with tables topped by curved mesh canopies. Completing the sense of escape, plants in this area create an environment that seems like its an ocean away, what with the Japanese maple, Korean grass, and horsetail reed.