OKO Restaurant

OKO Restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland by Zoo Architects

A conveyer belt sushi restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland is a testament to the spread of culture across geographical boundaries and the use of technology in its spread. London's Zoo Architects designed the OKO Restaurant in Glasgow's Merchant City, though the restaurant's design is all-encompassing, extending beyond the architecture to the delivery system and the tableware. Offering a mezzanine bar with traditional Scottish snacks and drinks - and DJs spinning records on the weekends - the restaurant's greatest appeal lies in the conveyer belt dining, where sushi and other dishes slowly pass the diner on a moving belt for the taking.

Upon arriving at OKO the diner is escorted to the belt and explained the menu and the process: chopsticks, condiments, water tap, napkins and menu are located at each seat; the menu contains a color-coding for the different sushi dishes; remove the desired dishes from the belt; the bill is tallied by the number of color-coded plates used. The simple seating, the wood-covered counter and wall surfaces, and the belt itself act as a backdrop for the brightly colored plates and food. The image at left illustrates the combination of linear and cyclical movement, especially indicated by the lighting extending from the entrance to the bar, and back again.

An interesting aspect of OKO - and other conveyer belt restaurants in general - is its mixture of tradition with wit and irony. The fact traditional Japanese fare is served on a mechanical track goes hand in hand with its location in Glasgow. As globalism, unabated, infiltrates into each aspect of culture and daily life, the presence of sushi in Scotland and haggis in Japan is a natural byproduct. It is design that acts as an equalizer, attempting to connect cultures through the intelligent articulation of elements, both architectural and gastronomical.