Japanese design has always been respected for its thoughtful approach to materials and use of space. This spring, one new restaurant proved that these principles can be used to create both a unique and comforting interior, smack in the middle of Brooklyn. Designer Loren Daye of Love Is Enough and restaurant cofounder George Padilla crafted Rule of Thirds in Greenpoint, a space that embodies the Japanese principle of mottainai: a concept of “mindfulness, gratitude, and intention.”
The latest addition to the A/D/O building—a community hub and multipurpose space for creatives that includes a members-only workspace, an exhibition area, a start-up accelerator, and a shop—Rule of Thirds’s aesthetic blends polished, carefully crafted shapes and surfaces with the raw, industrial warehouse space. The overall effect is a sense of peace combined with an out-of-the-box approach to dining.
While the restaurant is closed due to the pandemic, there is still a lot of inspiration to absorb from the stunning interiors. (And if you are also inspired to help support the Rule of Thirds staff during the closure, check out their site to donate.) Read on for some design tips you can use to bring a sense of tranquility and thoughtfulness to your home.
Think of wood as a neutral
Wood is familiar enough to be used as a primary material in a room’s design while also standing out as a statement. At Rule of Thirds, designer Gregory Beson helped the team incorporate a variety of wood components in the space, like tabletops, bento boxes, and pendant lights. Since wood functions as a neutral, different shades and grains can be easily mixed in one space; for example, the restaurant uses a light Douglas fir throughout the main dining area and a contrasting dark walnut for the bar.
Minimalists can (and should) use color
It’s easy to confuse minimalism with decorating exclusively in neutral tones, but the two aren’t necessarily the same. Employing muted shades can help maintain that streamlined aesthetic minimalists love while allowing you to express your own unique taste. “Lots of color in a space is super-fun too, but the project and the food warranted a gentler, more tonal touch,” says Loren. They used tones of green—from jade, mint, fern, and icy pale citron—to evoke the “lush embrace of nature,” she explains. Using a similar color in varying muted shades can help create a particular feeling for a space without overwhelming the overall minimalist approach.
Blend aesthetics with functionality
As design galleries gain popularity akin to that of art museums, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that people care as much about the functionality of their homes as they do about aesthetics. Rather than thinking about these as mutually exclusive aims, consider instead how you can find the best intersection of the two. Dining spaces in particular demand functionality because of their constant use, so as you set up your home, look for pieces that have multiple functions or can adjust their size or shape. “Because the A/D/O and Rule of Thirds team have such a wide variety of events and have an additional space allocated to their programming, the client team chose a folding chair that could be used throughout the restaurant,” explains Loren. But it’s not just any folding chair; the David Irwin for Case designs are crafted in a beautiful light wood with a sculptural curved back.
Anchor your dining space with ceramics
Ceramics are certainly having a moment, and the right collection can set the tone for a whole space. While often small in size, ceramic accessories can help communicate the feeling that we want others to experience when we welcome them into our home. When selecting ceramics, Rule of Thirds thought about how these pieces would connect all the different elements of the restaurant. “It is always our intention to let the interior be a foundation to the interactions, vessels, and food that happen inside it,” Loren explains, reflecting on their choice of ceramics.
Follow the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a guideline for all visual design by which a canvas is divided into nine equal parts and any compositional elements fall along the lines or intersections. For the restaurant’s logo and signage, the team worked with Isometrics Studio, who came up with a unique shape that follows the rule of thirds: a two-thirds circle with a straight edge. When shopping for art or furniture, look around for unexpected shapes that still follow the rule of thirds, or work with a local carpenter or artisan to create a unique design.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest