Architect Amanda Gunawan has forged a close connection with food through her work. Her Los Angeles-based architecture and design firm Owiu Studio (short for Only Way Is Up) which she co-founded with fellow architect Joel Wong in 2018 is behind some of the most thoughtfully-designed interiors in the hottest architecture and design scene yet – the F&B industry.
The studio frequent collaborates with Singaporean-based hospitality company Proper Concepts. Together, they’ve created spaces for popular contemporary Japanese restaurants, Mezcla, Rappu Handroll Bar, and Goho Kaiseki & Bar.
Owiu Studio and Proper Concepts oversaw the design of contemporary Japanese restaurant, Rappu Handroll Bar in Singapore.
The thought process behind creating such spaces is much more than simply taking the restaurant concept at face value, but is more so about considering all aspects – the overall vibe of the restaurant, staff and customer traffic flow, and decor to make the space pop. Simply put, how a room can become a space where people can constantly eat, drink, and enjoy, in more ways than one.
The Indonesia-born and Singapore-raised Gunawan met Wong here prior to the duo enrolling into the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). She would move on to work in Urban Planning and Design at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore, as well as with Pritzker-prize-winning Architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects. Fast forward to today, and they oversee a multidisciplinary practice that includes a line of furniture and home goods which can be purchased via its Instagram.
The Japanese ryokan-inspired Biscuit Loft is Gunawan’s apartment in Los Angeles and doubles up as Owiu Studio’s home base. The space is situated in building that used to house the National Biscuit Company Bakery.
One of their most recent projects is their own design studio The Biscuit Loft. The 1,620 sq ft space in L.A.’s buzzy Arts District is also Gunawan’s apartment and boasts her distinctive Japanese-influenced touches all around. Designed during the height of the pandemic, the sun-soaked space is part Zen hideaway, part industrial loft. As for the cheeky-sounding name? It is a nod to the former occupant: the National Biscuit Company Bakery.
Ahead, Gunawan clues us in on how design architecture and the dining experience can evolve together.