Georgia Burkhart Ensō

  • Tauira / Student
    Georgia Burkhart
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Luke McConnell, Joanne Hair, Jordan Foster
  • School

The creation of Ensō, a hypothetical Sushi Bar, emerged as a response to the noticeable isolation and lack of community experienced during the Covid-19 lockdowns. The project aimed to unite people through a shared appreciation of food and the experience of dining in person, acknowledging that certain aspects of human connection cannot be replicated virtually. The concept drew inspiration from the wabi-sabi philosophy and the Japanese architectural motifs, seeking to capture the balance between tranquillity and noise, simplicity and sophistication, and chaos and density.

The project juxtaposed hand-crafted, chaotic explorations and a robust curatorial process, resulting in refined outcomes. This approach emphasised the importance of hands-on experience in achieving authenticity. The menu, designed to be shared and symbolise collaboration and unity, was central to fostering a sense of community within Ensō.

The design of Ensō incorporated rough and rugged textures inspired by traditional Japanese woodblock printing techniques, adding an element of noise. At the same time, refined type choices and layout introduced a touch of refinement. The juxtaposition of refined and chaotic elements has a symmetry with wabi-sabi philosophy and Japanese architectural motifs.

Authenticity played a significant role in Ensō's identity, enabling customers to fully immerse themselves in Japanese culture. The distinctive colour scheme and brand identity are carefully crafted to uphold the integrity of traditional Japanese culture while meeting the needs of contemporary life. Ensō aimed to provide an inviting and immersive space where people could come together, connect, and experience the circle of togetherness represented by its name.

Ensō is a testament to the power of physical togetherness, cultural celebration, and community building in an increasingly connected yet isolated world. Its design, menu, and overall experience offer a place for people to gather, appreciate Japanese cuisine, and forge meaningful connections—a harmonious blend of tradition, innovation, and human interaction.