Project: Saitama
Architectural Design & Construction: Antistixis Architects
Location: Kerameikos, Athens
Year: April 2022

Our architectural office is proud to present the Saitama project, a street food restaurant located in the vibrant district of Kerameikos in Athens, Greece. This project was designed to reflect the love for anime and Japanese culture while still incorporating elements of Greek design and architecture. The district of Kerameikos is known for its multiculturalism, theaters, galleries, and industrial aesthetics, making it the perfect location for this unique and bold concept.

The name “Saitama” was chosen as a nod to the region in Japan and the main character of the comic One Punch-man, who is known for his strength of character and bold colors of red and yellow. Our goal was to create a space that would capture the essence of Japan while also being distinctly Greek.

To achieve this, we used a combination of materials, including iron and wood, to create a geometric space that reflects the balance and harmony found in traditional Japanese architecture. The use of natural materials such as wood also pays homage to the respect for nature and the natural landscape found in both Greek and Japanese cultures.

One of the key design elements of the Saitama project is the use of bright and colorful lights to create a vibrant and energetic atmosphere. The lighting design was carefully considered to enhance the space and highlight the bold colors of the restaurant’s branding.

Simplicity and the “less is more” philosophy were also important design principles that were incorporated into the Saitama project. The use of large external openings creates a seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces, while also allowing natural light to flood the interior.

Incorporating this symbolism into our design, we used a red iron grid to create a striking feature wall that serves as the backdrop for the restaurant. This element not only adds a pop of color to the space but also creates a bold statement that reflects the strength of character found in both the Japanese culture and the One Punch-man character.

The iron grid also serves a functional purpose by acting as a partition between the kitchen and the dining area. This allows customers to view the kitchen and see their food being prepared, adding an interactive element to the dining experience.

Additionally, the use of iron as a material is a nod to the industrial aesthetics of the Kerameikos district. By incorporating this element, we have created a space that not only reflects the Japanese culture but also pays tribute to the unique character of the surrounding area.

To complement the industrial aesthetic of the Kerameikos district and add to the bold character of the Saitama project, our architectural office decided to incorporate visible air conditioning ducts, electrical ducts, and water pipes into the design.

The graffiti also adds to the urban landscape of the Kerameikos district, where graffiti is an active element of the area. Our team created a discreet and functional entrance for employees. The red iron grid used throughout the space continues past the sales counter and forms the main entrance to the restaurant, which only employees have access to. White tiles with red joints cover almost the entire interior of the space, creating a sense of repetition in colors and textures. This repetition not only adds to the overall design of the space but also creates a sense of strict geometry, in keeping with the minimal aesthetic of the project.

In designing the Saitama restaurant, our architectural office took into consideration the type of products that would be sold, specifically high-quality noodles and homemade cocktails. This led us to create a dynamic yet comfortable space that allows customers to easily take away their goods. To achieve this, we incorporated a mix of seating options, including counter seating and high tables.