Spinach helps create the new restaurant brand SHŌTŌ in Washington DC

Shoto branding by Spinach Branding

This month SHŌTŌ opened its doors in Washington, DC. Serving modern Japanese dishes in a stylish setting, the restaurant and bar brings with it an exciting dining experience to the US capital city. And our team at Spinach Branding have been working closely with the Arman Group and restaurateur Arman Naqi in realising the new brand.

One of the key propositions is for SHŌTŌ to be as much about the food as the experience. So, the branding and design, and every visual and sensory element, forms part of this narrative. For instance, the interior by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of the celebrated Tokyo-based Studio Glitt, is artistically imagined and crafted to offer a unique customer journey. The design is about intricate storytelling: the entrance is shaped from a branch harvested from a forest outside Tokyo, transported to the UK to be encased in bronze before being shipped across to the US, while hundreds of lava stones sourced from a Japanese volcano form a magnificent internal installation.

Shoto branding by Spinach Branding

SHŌTŌ can seat 155 and has three part-open kitchens. The atrium doubles as a glass-walled whiskey cellar to house rare Japanese bottles. And there is theatre. Lots of theatre. At the bar, an expert artistically chisels away at large slabs of ice creating a centrepiece for the house-infused cocktails as the DJ booth plays bespoke tunes composed by a dedicated music director.

There is a sushi counter and a robata grill where the Japanese white oak gives off a delicate smoke. The menu is fittingly stylish to include luxurious sushi, sashimi and tempura as well as artistic additions such as coconut chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard) decorated with exotic fruits. And for added drama, guests may book seats at the kitchen and watch the executive chef Alessio Conti and sushi chef Kwang Kim (of Morimoto, Masa and Nobu fame) create eatable art.

Spinach worked closely with Naqi Arman to create the SHŌTŌ’s brand. We helped his team define their brand proposition, and from this we then created a unique brand identity, which was implanted across the brand estate, including menus, uniforms, website, and on social media. Our work included close collaboration with Studio Glitt, ensuring that the place design and brand identity aligned at all intersections.

Shoto branding by Spinach Branding

The team behind SHŌTŌ bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience having created exciting international brands such as Zuma, Roka and Coya. ‘It has been a pleasure working with such a passionate and esteemed team,’ says Leigh Banks, Spinach branding director says. ‘When we first met Arman, he had a clear and exciting vision of what SHŌTŌ would become – one of the world’s must-go-to restaurants, a place of real drama and excellence. It is a testament to Arman and his team that even during Covid and restrictions imposed by the pandemic, he has realized his vision. We are delighted to have played a part in making this happen.’

Images: Spinach Branding for SHŌTŌ.

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

Shoto branding by Spinach Branding
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