Ninth Street Ramen is a sharply dressed restaurant wedged into a tight stretch of storefronts in downtown Los Angeles. It has an underground cool typical of Suplex, a local interior architecture and branding firm led by Devin Carlson and Nathan Warkentin. The duo carefully orchestrated every detail of the 875 square foot eatery, from the restrained neon signage in the front windows to the custom tubular stacking stools from Matter Made, to evoke the charm of a traditional Tokyo ramen shop, with a number of contemporary touches.
Drawing on the syncretic scenography of films like Blade Runner and Only God Forgives, the sleek design delights in apparent contrasts. The chrome-plated industrial track lighting overhead, for instance, is softened by hanging plants. Oversize mirrors placed at eye level encircle diners, reflecting the ivory-white tile walls and bar, as well as the Silver Marlin paint above (chosen by Suplex to emulate the chilly gray skies of “perfect ramen weather”), ad infinitum. The effect is frenetic, a blur of waitstaff, diners, and steaming bowls of ramen.
Header image: Touches like the simple Matter Made stools create an efficient, casual atmosphere in the eatery. (Alan Gastelum)