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Hinoki & the Bird design: quilted denim, mirrored subway tile

March 07, 2013|By Jessica Ritz

The seductive new Century City restaurant Hinoki & the Bird, reviewed by Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold last week, conveys a dark intensity. But take a closer look at some of the interior details and you’ll find a degree of playfulness.

Milo Garcia of MAI Studio in Los Angeles wanted the restaurant, the newest concept from chef-owner David Myers, to have a touch of glamour but also a sense of humor — a combination that plays out in two particular areas: bathroom subway tiles that cleverly double as mirrors and striking block-patterned denim banquettes.

In the restrooms, the design team decided to forgo conventional mirrors for a series of strategically placed tiles made of highly polished stainless steel. The mirrored tiles are integrated into a wall of otherwise white subway tile.

It's an unexpected detail, and though the polished stainless at Hinoki delivers an elegant beauty and durability, a DIYer could theoretically achieve the same effect using standard mirror material.

Denim seat covers for elegantly simple oak banquettes were meant to be a subtle reference to Japan, where repurposing denim has become something of a craze. The design team analyzed a slew of blue jean samples and ultimately came up with a stitching technique to make the modern quilt-like upholstery. The Sewing Arts Center in West L.A. made the final coverings using different shades of the material, and the net effect not only has a handcrafted touch but also long-term resilience.

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