Richards Basmajian


Djapa is a Brazilian-Japanese ground and first floor bar and restaurant. Both in design as well as the food and beverage service, it is a blend of these two seemingly disparate cultures. 

The core design theme, strongly expressed in the interior surfaces and furnishings, borrows from the imagery of the Favela: shanty towns that have grown around the major cities of Brazil, where vivid colours and graffiti adorn the raw concrete, steel sheet, timber boarding and block structures from which they are built.

Wall surfaces in Djapa draw from this palette of rough finishes either as the original concrete or applied recycled materials, left either unfinished or with spray and hand brush graffiti.

As if layered on top, contemporary Japanese art, principally from the anime genre, hangs on either bare or graffiti daubed walls. Sculptural pieces occupy prominent locations on both floors with other cultural references strewn about: sake barrels as table stools and an impressive array of Yamazaki whisky on the cracked antique mirrored back bar.

Floors are mainly unfinished concrete partially inlaid with brightly coloured, smashed ceramic plates and bowls, shards of mirror and occasional patches of recycled oak parquet flooring. The paint splattered steel staircase connecting the two floors uses broken tile in the risers with recycled timber treads.

Dining chairs, bar stools and armchairs on both the ground and first floors, in a variety of bold paint colours, contrast strongly with the mainly neutral floors. Table surfaces are of roughly hewn timber and the bar tops in three locations are of solid Sapele inlaid with bright circles of colour.

Open ceilings leave services exposed, obscured in part by expanded metal mesh through which antique tungsten effect LED lamps provide a warm glow. Other ambient lighting comes from track mounted spots trained on the artwork and, elsewhere, pendant lampshades, from recycled straw hats, hover over the tables and bartops.

Ground and first floor window frames have an applied, rust-look patina finish intended to age and contextualise these elements. The same effect is achieved on the bullet-hole riddled signage panel. At both levels, tall windows and fold-back doors fully open out on to the tree lined avenue with views across to the nearby square.

Djapa is from the Le Comptoir group that includes other well known venues: Bibo, TRi and The Ocean.

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