Otemba ramen bar in Amsterdam

The team of Otemba gave us the challenge to come up with a strategy, brand and interior design for their Ramen bar in Amsterdam.

In 2011 the Slok family made a trip to Vietnam. That was the moment when Martijn (then 18 years old), Myrthe (16), and Bastiaan (14) fell in love with Asian culture. After many more trips, conversations, discoveries, and ideas, their dream became a reality: bringing a Japanese ramen bar to Amsterdam! Otemba Ramen was born. With powerplant’s concept + first location service, Otemba became a reality with first location on the Kinkerstraat in Amsterdam.

Building cultural bridges

Through a process of strategic positioning, consulting, and branding

workshops, enbiun created a naming concept that bridges Japanese and Dutch culture. ‘Otemba’, a loanword from Dutch in Japanese, means untameable in Japanese. Often used to describe tomboy like girls. With the help of some Japanese friends and our dedicated team, the story of Otemba was delicately translated to a unique visual identity and shop interior by enbiun.



Ramen as an all-day concept

Ramen is a traditionally a dish eaten as a lunch in Japan. It’s fast, super tasty, and easy to eat. Otemba challenged us to create a concept and context that extends Ramen far into the evening with side dishes and drinks, adding a cosmopolitan layer to this authentic dish. The interior has 3 different atmospheres to facilitate different needs throughout the day, the street bar, a cozy club-like space for the evening and parties, and a tranquil living room. The menu and its design prominently position the Ramen through illustration, however equally important are the side dishes. Served together on the table the ramen bowls and side dishes form a festive whole.

Fun and playful details

Otemba is a character; she inspires both the identity and the interior. The space inside acts like a giant blown-up illustration from Otemba’s life. To bring these vibrant scenes to life, we collaborated with studio Giftig, who used graffiti techniques to spray paint scenes like, at home with her cat, on the street and in the club. The graphic design takes from popular apps like LINE or Facebook messenger, where people use ‘stickers’ to emote. The total package results in a rich concept full of playful details that make people want to return again and again.