Inspired by traditional Korean screens, this Southern Californian restaurant creates a world of depth in a small space

Cosmic Beauty

The peach-hued interior of Korean restaurant Haewah Dal sits on one of Long Beach, California’s main drags. The small, sophisticated space, designed by New York firm o-n, uses a series of curved frames that nest like a Russian doll to enclose the eatery’s dining room. These sculpted elements turn what could have been a long, narrow extrusion into a complex space that feels like much more than a street-facing storefront. 

(Louis Trinh)

“We drew inspiration from irworobongdo, a traditional decorative screen that featured prominently during Korea’s Joseon dynasty,” o-n principal Davis Owen said. “We were intrigued by the efficiency of this type of screen and how it collapses an immense depth of space.” 

(Louis Trinh)

Organic furnishings join a grid of marbled sconces that evoke celestial bodies, a nod to the restaurant’s name, which is Korean for sun and moon. With additional light emanating from recessed neon tubes, the restaurant can be washed in a slew of colors. These features break up the monolithic space and help establish a cozy atmosphere inside.  

Header image: An array of sconces cover nested arched ceilings that add depth to the storefront space. (Louis Trinh)