A diner’s first impression of a restaurant is begins the moment he enters. The surroundings, be it the colour tone or the lighting, immediately sets the pace. We study the room, and allow the set-up to impress and inspire us during the stroll from the entrance to our table. The overall design of a restaurant, like its cuisine, should tell the story of the establishment, or carry a message that transcends through shapes and textures. Here are eight restaurants of 2016 with mesmerizing designs we cannot get enough of.
Tokyo-based architect Sou Fujimoto’s first project in Hong Kong is the 8,000 square foot Potato Head. It’s a masterful fusion between the Japanese design house’s signature creative work and PTT Family’s strong dedication to preserving the tradition of Indonesian design. The extensive use of lightweight metal fixtures contrast with heavy crafted teak wood, which accentuates the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary touches. A highlight of Potato Head’s design lies in the intricate pattern of glass panels, shaped and formed to resemble window frames, lining the perimeters of the venue. Not only does this special design increase security, the glass patterns become clearer as guests approach the venue.
Also in the Western District is Rhoda, Yenn Wong’s latest opening to date and 22 Ships-alum Nate Green’s first restaurant. This new venture, designed by Joyce Wang Studio, exudes industrial chic in every corner. The inviting entrance introduces guests to the cocktail bar and chef’s open kitchen bar, one that enhances the dramatic and theatrical effect of live cooking. The metallic chandelier is repurposed from old washing machine drums which have been treated for a raw, industrial finish. An inviting communal table placed in the middle of the dining space invites guests to share the restaurant’s vast menu offerings.
An all-in-one venue rolling cocktail bar, restaurant (Esme), and event space together, the 8,000 square foot space that is Maison Eight is designed by British designer Tim Shepherd. The establishment enhanced the concept of space, by installing design elements without crowding the room. The grand chandeliers hung from intricately detailed palm-court ceilings, match with playful light fixtures and furniture that bring a sense of playfulness to fit the purpose of the venue.
Located at the top of the new Tower 535 in Causeway Bay, Seafood Room’s design invites guests to a trip to the lagoon, introducing different shades that represent mountains, water, and the ocean. The abundance of wood and plants are adopted to bring a sense of nature, while city materials such as metal, glass, and concrete enhance the restaurant’s location within the modern city of Hong Kong.
China Tang Harbour City
Like its Central counterpart, China Tang Harbour City is a restaurant that awes, starting from the moment you arrive at the entrance, where a European-style interpretation of Chinese floral patterns lead up to the main dining room with a panoramic view of the Victoria Harbour. Floral patterns are seen not only at the main dining area, but also throughout the establishment’s five private rooms, each with its unique colour tones from canary yellow to blue and chartreuse; yet, the spae manages to maintain a coherently sophisticated Chinoiserie style created by none other than Sir David Tang himself.
Arguably the most impressively designed restaurant of the Elgin Street strip, chef James Henry’s debut with Black Sheep Restaurants is a neo-Parisian bistro, with a nod to Alsatian beer halls and Parisian brasseries. The square dining space of Belon, designed by Dix Design + Architecture, begins with an American oak façade and beveled windows, introduces guests to a clean space bejeweled with mirror-lined walls and spherical lamps for an elegant touch.
Buenos Aires Polo Club
It takes extra effort to create a period design, one that is frozen in history. Buenos Aires Polo Club is one of these spaces. A collaboration between Zanghellini & Holt Associates and Black Sheep’s own restaurant design, the handsome steakhouse captures the spirit of the lost 1900s members’ only polo club with an abundance of equestrian antiques sourced from around the world, including rich and colorful oil paintings hung throughout the dining establishment, complete with glass cabinets filled with aged rosettas, tarnished trophies as well as a rich collection of steak-knives on display from the personal collection of Black Sheep Restaurant’s co-founder, Chris Mark.
How did Yung Kee become a new restaurant, you may ask? The Cantonese stalwart symbolises a rich culinary heritage that has transcended through decades, and has had its first major décor revamp since its opening in 1942. With respect to the restaurant’s heritage, locally based architecture firm CL3 Architects, helmed by William Lim, incorporated contemporary elements such as a communal table in the main dining area, while retaining the grand staircase, the charcuterie display area, as well as the fountain, focusing on enhancing a piece of history. The vintage look is enhanced by custom-made leather seating, specially cast bronze door handles as well as tables, reception backdrops and floorings made from exclusively curated marble slabs from China.