Interior Design


One may easily liken entering the door to Animae to stepping through a portal into a  dreamy, enchanted forest. Imitating the essence of nature through the art of Japanese zen gardens: Animae is dressed in Art Deco romanticism with a tinge of post punk futurism. Animae is a lustrous theatrical wonderland inspired in part by an ancient remote forest on Japan’s Yakushima Island with an opulent color palette of emerald, gold and salmon and an expansive bespoke carpet that is hugged by a meandering terrazzo “river” and lush serpentine booths.

The design of the restaurant is inspired by the stunning, modern architecture of the building it is housed in. Creating an ultra-sophisticated and stylish experience the restaurant juxtaposes natural elements and architectural lines of the art deco period. The design borrows from Japanese archetypes, reinterpreting the ancient forest of Yakushima island and combines that with highly theatrical design elements like heavy velvet curtains exposing a gilded dining nook, fringed columns rising from the floor, and custom lighting that snakes through the room. The result is a seductive atmosphere that sets the stage for a hushed dining experience (the restaurant was designed to be the quietest around) amongst jewel-toned booths, ceiling length curtains, and carpet that mimics a mossy forest floor. The 15 person bar showstopper is a custom mural backbar that illuminates the patrons in a warm glow. Luxurious cozy furnishings, stone tables, and large pendants round out the restaurant’s amenities.

The design reflects the menu as they both push traditional boundaries. The coal-fired, Asian-inspired dishes rooted in street food incorporate unexpected ingredients, cooking techniques and flavors. Examples include Tom Yum mushrooms with burrata and dumplings filled with escargot and butter (instead of shrimp and soup), served on top of wagyu beef carpaccio. Guests revel in the opulent setting while enjoying a menu rooted in unexpected Pan Asian delights.

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  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    969 Pacific Hwy., San Diego

    Project Owner/Developer:

    Puffer Malarkey Collective

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Christopher Puffer /

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Bells + Whistles

    Image Credit:

    Dustin Bailey

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San Diego, CA 92112-2228
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