Cover McDonald's Chengdu Cube flagship restaurant, designed by Steve Leung

Known for its luxurious, elegant projects, the Hong Kong-based Steve Leung Design Group puts an amicable and streamlined spin on fast food restaurant design

Steve Leung Design Group (SLD) is known more for its luxurious projects, such as the YOO8 serviced by Kempinski—elegant residential interiors—in Kuala Lumpur, Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, London, as well as richly textured restaurants and bars. So the recent design of two McDonald’s outlets in Shenzhen and Chengdu is a delightful surprise.

But the celebrated Hong Kong-based designer has often indicated his interest in all realms of design, and these two Cube concept outlets bear his signature elegance, combined with a playful spin.

Here, we share a closer look at these and more stunning projects by his eponymous firm.

See also: Tatler Design Awards 2021: Introducing The Jury Panel

1. McDonald’s Cube restaurants in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China

The name of the new McDonald's restaurant concept, 'Cube', references the ubiquitous Happy Meal cardboard box for children’s meals, whose elements the team abstracted using three key design elements.

One is square and cubic elements found in wall decoration, posters, lighting fixtures, as well as a pavilion in the outdoor seating section of the Shenzhen branch. Another is the use of warm tones. The parts of a burger—bun, lettuce, and mayonnaise—are found in brown-red, lime-green and grey furniture and interior surfaces and graphic wall imagery.

The third key design feature is the ‘hidden smile’ that embodies the emotions of enjoying a Happy Meal. These are found in curved forms, such as seats and a longish, tubular wall lamp whose lit part forms a smiling ‘U’ shape. In the McDonald's Cube flagship restaurant in Chengdu, a staircase wrapped in a translucent glass box links two storeys. Reflective, bright orange undersides inject dynamism.

On the second storey, semi-translucent, orange gradient glass defines various seating types and zones. It is not your McDonald’s encounter of the retro era for sure, but it is certainly a welcoming and cheerful update to its bright colour scheme.

See also: McDonald's UK Serves Up Burgers In Designer Bejeweled Box

2. St. Regis Bar in Macao, China

The St. Regis Bar in Macao reinterprets classic British elegance through a richly textured setting. Think coffered wood ceilings inspired by the Big Ben tower, dark olive mirrors, velvet sofas and leather benches inspired by the colours of Westminister Palace, turbine-shaped ceiling lights and an impressive mural depicting Macao’s traditional Sino-Portugese legacy.

3. Sanlorenzo SX88

Steve Leung’s second collaboration with Italian yacht company Sanlorenzo in 2019 appeals to younger owners. He designed it as a “luxurious floating villa reflecting the needs of the Asian market”.

There are two interior design schemes: Breeze/Zen has serene earthy, blue and emerald shades, and Vermilion has bold red tones and circular shapes found in elements such as a round, 10-seater table on the main deck for traditional Chinese-style dining with a view. 

(Related: Piero Lissoni Designs Italian Yachting Brand Sanlorenzo's Singapore Showroom

4. Ying Door Collection for Lualdi

The collection is named after the Chinese ideogram 迎 (pronounced “Yíng” and meaning ‘welcome’ in mandarin). A sense of ceremony is created with the upper part of the doors finished in symbolic door colours from ancient China.

Details are inspired traditional Chinese carpentry techniques that do not use nails or screws. The red lacquer represents happiness and good fortune and the yellow lacquer embodies imperial virtue; these vibrant finishes are matched with a discreet and versatile black lacquer.

5. YOO8 @8 Conlay hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Developed by Malaysian property developer KSK Land, Yoo8 serviced residences is serviced by Kempinski and features two spiralling towers a hop away from the iconic KLCC Twin Towers. British designer Kelly Hoppen is the interior designer for one, while the other is by Steve Leung.

Leung’s design brings an Asian touch to Yoo’s fun and daring DNA. It embodies the essence of nature and the five elements of metal, water, food, fire and earth.   

(Related: These Skyscrapers Are Set To Become Southeast Asia's Tallest Residential Towers

Read the full interview with Steve Leung in the April-May 2021 issue of Tatler Homes Singapore, available soon on Magzter and on newsstands.

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