A Colorful Tile Mural at L.A.'s Sweetfin Takes Minimalism Up a Notch

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When co-founder Brett Nestadt set out to design the fifth location of Sweetfin, a popular Los Angeles poké restaurant, he knew that spending time on creating a cohesive atmosphere was as important as developing a tasty menu. He wanted to interpret Scandinavian and Japanese influences for a casual California setting, which is confined to a small dining space on a well-trafficked city street. The result not only satisfies his objectives, but is a smart example of how to maximize the impact of a minimalist design. For starters, the dining area is centered around a focal point of brightly-colored tiles, and the adjoining materials — like light-colored wood against white seating and fixtures — place the attention on this eye-catching subject. Then, the layout of the furnishings complements the structure of the space itself, curving right alongside its frame. And in keeping with a paired-down aesthetic, the intrigue is in the details: geometric lines throughout the locale provide just enough interplay with the rest of the decor. Its a look that's definitely hip, but approachable enough for everyday meals.

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Sweetfin restaurant overview.
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Dining Area

Through lots of research, Nestadt found concrete tiles by Kaza Concrete, a company based in Hungary, and decided to install the 6-inch tiles above the bar. The alternating colors of blues and white are a subtle color choice for this high-impact design element. L.A.-based Bend Goods custom-designed the bar stools.

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Sweetfin dining room.
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Dining Room

The inside dining area looks out on to the hustle and bustle of L.A. street traffic. Janine Stone of "If You Give a Girl a Saw" designed and made the tables by hand. Geometric lines on the tabletop match those on the chairs.

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Sweetfin seating closeup.
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Dining Room

Lace and rattan pendants hang over cozy two-seat tables, and tie into the light color palette better than a metallic option. To maximize the seating space, Nestadt designed an Eames-style bench banquette that curves against the arc of the plate-glass storefront.


Zoe Lance is a writer and editor interested in all things art and culture. She earned her bachelor's degree at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

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