February 21, 2021

Tori Tori Santa Fe by Esrawe Studio: 2020 Best of Year Winner for Casual Dining

Photography by César Béjar.

Tori Tori serves some of the best sushi in town. But locals love the Japanese res­taurants as much for their environments as the food. Hometown icon Héctor Esrawe has designed four of them, each with its own distinct vibe. One branch is covered in a web of steel lattice; another resembles a brutalist cave. Esrawe’s latest is at the foot of an office tower in the city’s San­ta Fe district, and is inspired by Japanese craftsmanship. “I admire its rigor,” he states. “Japanese artisans take pride in their heritage but can also translate it into new visual expressions.” At the 120-seat eatery, Esrawe built two illuminated white-oak sculptures that evoke the plates found on samurai armor. The larger one doubles as a cylindrical extraction hood for the teppanyaki table, while the other hangs above a grab-and-go store. Behind the sushi bar, abstractions of kanji characters form geometric reliefs in the CNC-cut black plywood wall. The result is an utterly modern homage to ancient Japanese culture.

Photography by Genevieve Lutkin.

Project Team: Héctor Esrawe; Heisei Carmona; Javier García-Rivera; Lilian Betancourt; Roberto González; Cristina Margain; Fabián Dávila; Enrique Tovar; Abraham Carrillo; Viviana Contreras; Vanessa Ortega; Alejandro Uribe; Daniel Serna.

> See the full list of winners and honorees from Best of Year 2020

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