Giant bookcase-size books, fluffy emerald hedges and disorienting black and white checkered floors are just some of the delights that visitors to the Alice in Wonderland Cafe in Shinjuku, Tokyo can expect to encounter. The trippy new restaurant was conceived by Fantastic Design Works, and is made up of layer upon layer of delights based on the much interpreted children's tale by Lewis Carroll. While the theme destination is totally spacey in terms of its design, FDC was conversely quite conscientious in terms of sustainability, using recycled materials and low formaldehyde paints and fabrics to ensure healthy indoor air quality levels for guests.
The 2,000 sq. ft. restaurant was designed by Shinjuku Katsunori Suzuki and Eiichi Maruyama of FDC with the concept of “multi scene fantasy” in mind. Guests are greeted by humongous “books” when they enter (the interpretation of the theme is by no means subtle) but the fun doesn’t end there. As visitors travel through the space, they fall deeper and deeper into the “rabbit hole,” unearthing surprises like mirrored walls, funky grass hedges, and even a “secret” red and black card-themed party room.
In Japan, all new habitable building construction must adhere to a strict standard that dictates the allowable level of formaldehyde emissions in order to regulate air quality. The rating system is tiered from “one-star” to “four-star” levels, with four-stars representing the lowest amount of formaldehyde emission. FDC limited all of the paints, fabrics and carpets to those that were able to achieve the four-star rating. Where possible, they also used recycled materials such as low-formaldehyde MDF and particle board.