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Owners Joe Sundberg, Rachel Johnson, and Patrick Thalasinos have opened their second restaurant on a small neighborhood street in Seattle. Rupee, a follow up to the trio’s restaurant Manolin—also designed in collaboration with Heliotrope Architects—was built entirely by the owners. Inspired by their journeys to South Asia, Rupee features a menu of Indian and Sri Lankan-inspired food and cocktails. The 700-square-foot space seats 26 and brings two architectural gestures together to set the tone: color and warm materiality.

Color, a vibrant peacock green, is used to visually immerse guests within the setting and mentally transport them away from the typical gray skies of Seattle. Then, a layer of warmth comes through the incorporation of natural materials including wood and handcrafted objects. Oregon walnut was chosen for its depth of color and richness, monolithically topping the nine-seat bar and wrapping the bar casework, adding a nod of the Pacific Northwest into the mix. Polished brass is used for trim elements and is combined with leather for stool seating, while Indian clay tiles and slatted pendant lights add a further layer of visual interest.

Photo: Noah Forbes


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