One new aspect at Dragonfish Asian Cafe was upping the look of the private dining room. Recently enlarged, it had no art or presence. After designing a special ‘Green Wall’ panel for the entry, it made sense to bring some of the same elements to the very rear of the space, this time propping it with various objects that would bring down the scale and add some Asian touches.
The idea was to nestle some cedar boxes into a composition of moss and ferns and finding a few totem objects that would speak to the Dragonfish flavor. Working with Michelle Marquez and Marta Piasecki at Seattle’s Botanical Designs, we came up with a fresh take on the concept.
It might be a stretch to call the panels ‘living’ as the different types of moss used have been dried and preserved, as well as the fern fronds, so no water is ever needed on this one, not even a spritz of water.
Objects that were incorporated include a wood yokogi fish from Japan, as well as an old ceramic sake bottle. Two contemporary handmade teacups are from an artist who works in my building, Ernest Hilsenberg. Also included are two objects provided by co-owner Yuko Abe, a black mask from SE Asia and a decorative cast resin piece in a yellow-green (left side panel).
The panels are mounted to planks of yakisugi from Nakamoto Forestry, out of Portland, OR. Using the ‘pika-pika’ treatment, the firm chars the face of the planks then uses wire brushes to bring out the grain of the wood before sealing with a penetrating oil. More typically used on exteriors, it makes for a dramatic and highly textural backdrop for the bright green mosses.