Ukko Restaurant

For Ukkō in South Africa, Design Partnership drew inspiration from Estonian mythology to create a minimalist, Mediterranean-inspired design with artisanal elements, offering an elevated dining experience on a limited budget.

  • area / size 3,229 sqft
  • Year 2022
  • Location Bryanston, South Africa,
  • Type Restaurant,
  • The Ukkō concept makes reference to the Finnish mythology referencing the god of the sky, weather, harvest and thunder. The name is an extension of the idea of place where people come together to celebrate special moments.

    Design Partnership worked with the client to develop an interior environment that not only celebrates Mediterranean cuisine but also create a place to enjoy good company amid plentiful ambience.

    Ukko, the Estonian god of the Sky, Weather, Harvest & Thunder was the inspiration for this design. We drew inspiration from these references in materiality and tone. The design is minimalist and focuses on doing a few key elements well, rather than trying to do too much. With this ethos in mind, we managed to create a fine dining experience on a very limited budget.

    A natural colour palette combined with textural materials, curved architecture and warm, soft lighting create the perfect harmony of form, shape and tonality at Ukko. A layered timber slatted focal wall which silhouettes the soft curves with warm led lighting, creates the perfect backdrop for the space and is used very successfully in their social media content. Custom 2,3m high macrame screens flanking either side of the mall seating area create a private ‘nest’ within which customers can enjoy their dining experience and add a unique visual contrast to the space. Woven basket lights are fixed to the 6,5m high mall ceiling and hang at various heights, emphasizing the luxury of volume and natural light.

    We wanted to incorporate some unique artisanal elements within the restaurant environment which would put a unique stamp on our brand and re-enforce the concept. We commissioned the work of a local Johannesburg based sculptor, Marlecia Marais, to create the god of thunder wall mural as well as a Pretoria based Macrame artist, Melissa Olori.

    Hands-on operations, a unique and excellent quality food offering and impeccable service within a beautiful space creates a memorable hospitality experience for patrons. Ukko is a restaurant that is attracting a very high-end LSM group and most of their patrons are repeat customers who have made Ukko a regular part of their social lives. Although only open for just over 6 months, Ukko is also seeing great success on their social media platforms, attracting some of South Africa’s leading influencers.

    Design: Design Partnership
    Photography: courtesy of Design Partnership