OWIU reopens restaurant Baroo with nods to Korean residential architecture

Ceramic Remake

Chef and cofounder of Korean eatery Baroo, Kwang Uh bucks expectations that his cuisine must be traditional. For his reopened restaurant, Uh and his cofounder, Mina Park, entrusted Los Angeles–based firm Only Way Is Up (OWIU) with turning the industrial space into a warm interior, sensitive to tradition yet not pandering to Asian tropes. The architects employed walnut wood to evoke a hanok, or traditional Korean residential architecture, while a combination of Venetian and Shikkui plaster counteract the coldness of preexisting concrete walls.

The industrial space was turned into a warm, calming interior (Justing Chung)

An aperture with a live edge provides a window into the kitchen and keeps things light and open. Tables from the previous owners were saved and resurfaced in a walnut tone to accommodate a limited budget, but OWIU spared no detail: The designers created custom ceramics for the space, including the decorative moon platter often seen in traditional Korean homes, made through the firm’s sister ceramics branch.

A combination of Venetian and Shikkui plaster counteract the existing concrete walls (Justing Chung)

Pendant lamps from Tŷ Syml are made from seaweed, connecting to the cuisine of the eatery (Justin Chung)

A pop of color comes from the yellow wall at the back of the restaurant (Justin Chung)

The designers created custom ceramics for the space (Justin Chung)

Wooden banquettes further ground the interior in warmth and welcome (Justin Chung)

Decorative moon platters are traditional decorations found in Korean homes (Justin Chung)

Ceramic design mirrors the warm and comforting nature of the eatery (Justin Chung)