For GOZU restaurant in San Francisco, a l m drew inspiration from chef Marc Zimmeran’s approach to cooking – highly precise, yet at ease. The menu of GOZU – built on fire and centered on wagyu – reimagines the traditional model of an izakaya restaurant as a place for cultivating transpacific heritage in an essential contemporary setting. a l m created an under-stated space with the hearth as the central focus.
Upon entering the front doors, guests are greeted by a blackened steel wall that encases the private dining room/whisky chamber. This 12-seat space is hard on the exterior and soft inside – paneled with cloth, it is a deliberate counterpart to all the action surrounding the main dining bar, introverted, and a surprise. The centerpiece, a marble table designed by a l m, is flanked by leather-cushioned oak seating.
In the main dining room, the subtle palette of mostly charcoal shades on the hard surfaces is accentuated by elemental hues derived from plants and sediments on the soft surfaces and accompanied by a sequence of site-specific cloth murals curated by Lenardin-Madden and created by mural artist Elkpen. The lighting concept in collaboration with Arsene Design complements the substantial, deliberately non–decorative approach to the architecture of the restaurant.