Project Spotlight: Da Kikokiko | Fireclay Tile
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Design & Inspiration

Project Spotlight: Da Kikokiko

By Kali

Project Spotlight: Da Kikokiko

All Images: Bethany Nauert

Conceived by design studio DUST & Co., Da Kikokiko serves up a fresh twist on island style with custom Triangle tiles across the floor and bar. Our commercial team worked with Jill Stevens, founder of DUST to create custom versions of our standard colors so that they could meet the building codes required for commercial flooring. We talked with Jill about her ethos, design process and of course, the tile below:

First, a bit about Jill:
My style can be described as...Handcrafted Modern with some quirk.
My design philosophy is...Have fun, don't be boring.
I find inspiration in...Everyday things. I was born in Southeast LA and raised in the strip malls and track housing of the Inland Empire, areas devoid of high design and luxury. Growing up I learned to find and appreciate the the beauty in the everyday.
My best design advice would be...Curation isn't creativity, we live in a time where we are over-saturated with design imagery, and while helpful it can often lead to inauthentic designs. Be bold, get wild, and don't be afraid to be yourself. There is only one of you.
I love tile because...Why wouldn't I love tile? It's versatile, durable, and is only limited to your imagination, (that and building codes).

Can you tell me a little bit about DUST & Co?
DUST started not out of any entrepreneur spirit, or my wish to front a firm, honesty I'm terribly shy and THE worst salesperson a firm could have. It started because while working for several other architecture and design firms, I felt out of place and not aligned with the work . Prior to my career in design I was a social worker, and prior to that I grew up in the Southern California punk and skateboard scene. So I have this moral and aesthetic code that is so en-grained in who I am and how I design. I could care less about prescribed design rules, and can't consciously play the designer in Tory Burch flats selling someone on $10 thousand dollar sofas. DUST began because I never found the firm I felt I could fit in, and had to start my own. So DUST began as me, and Today we have a small office of three. I work alongside two truly amazing female designers with just as varied backgrounds, strong social conscience and awkwardness as me. So I'd like to to think we are a slightly unconventional no nonsense interior design firm. We have a holistic approach to our business model, with a commitment to being part of and valuing the vibrant, diverse, and extraordinary neighborhoods we work in.

What sort of projects do you typically work on?
We do commercial and residential interior design, but are primarily known for our work alongside small mom and pop business owners in Restaurant and Retail projects.

Can you tell me about the space? Is there a story behind the project you'd like to share?
While the restaurant is part of the new lively mixed use retail development, the Runway, great care was taken to take the customer out of feeling like they weren't in a development at all. All the storefront layouts are simple boxes, so we wanted to create an environment within Da Kikokiko that felt intimate and unique. You are welcomed into the restaurant by the wall of rain forest based plants, and a new take on a mid century inspired breeze block wall. This screen creates comfort and division of space between the customers already dining and those in line to order. The wall is not assembled as simple stacked block as you've seen around (and often used in Hawaiian architecture), it is more of a collage / art installation created from the common building material.

Da Kikokiko breeze block entry way with our 6

The prominent architectural feature is a pitched oak paneled ceiling, (our effort to blur what would be expected as indoor/outdoor) it tricks the atmosphere to make the interior ceiling read as what could be the exterior roof of a mid century Hawaiian home. The kitchen “hut” is a volume in itself and is clad in white wood further adding to the residential feel.


The layout and floor plan informed by function. It's a tiny space, 850SF that includes a commercial kitchen and restroom! So developing a plan that gives the client optimal seats was not the easiest thing on our task list. Our seating solution was found with custom cantilevered table tops, and a long bench seat. Customers can feel free to pull up a stool, or four using minimal square footage. Our custom cushions give people a visual/physical cue of where we want them sit, so they don't take up unnecessary space, maximizing space for other diners. The cushions themselves feature a pattern designed by DUST for Da Kikokiko as our modern take on the native Hawaiian textile art, called Kapa. The Fireclay tile was a perfect compliment to the crafted feel of the restaurant.

Commercial Floor tile.

How involved were the owners of Da Kikokiko in the design of the space?
This was the 5th project I have worked on with the clients Nick Roberts and Brooke Williamson (of Top Chef fame), so we have a shorthand, and a level of trust. They are busy and talented chefs, that focus on continually innovating menus and the dining concepts. So while they have input and approvals at every level, they trust us to give them a solution without micromanaging the design process. They are truly great clients to have.


What type of look were you going for?
Modern Hawaiian, California Style.

How did you come up with the color scheme for the space?
It is a tongue and cheek color palette based on Pacific Ocean hues.


What made you choose our 6" triangles?
We chose Fireclay tile first because our core values align your manufacturing process and commitment to sustainability. AT DUST we emphasize durable, local, and handcrafted materials that have less impact on the environment, So Fireclay was a no brainer. Second, we specified the triangles for their flexibility and anonymity. The shape allowed for creative pattern options and felt timeless (without any connotation to a specific design era or style). Third COLOR, COLOR, did we mention COLOR?


Which of our colors did you choose?
Boundary Waters, Clover, Turquoise, and Ivory.
Please note: We developed custom matte versions of Boundary Waters and Turquoise for this project so that they could be used in a commercial floor application. For a very similar look to the custom color we developed, go for Peacock.

How did the installation process go?
We say great, our tile installer may say differently. The abstract pattern install was time consuming, and took patience but was worth it.


Lastly, which of our shapes/colors are you hoping to use in future projects?
Ooh, well we love your colored Brick and can't wait to use that, the hexite shape rules, are we are super excited about prospect of the Handpainted tiles, but mostly we just love the rich, varied and vibrant color options Fireclay has to offer.


Tile Shown: Hexite in White Wash

Ready to take the plunge? Order color samples online now. Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly. Are you working on a commercial project? Contact us.

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