Paradise Dynasty Hong Kong
This design was inspired by the Chinese Dynasty, the simple use of materials was reinterpreted by traditional patterns, shapes and forms.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Reinterpret traditional Chinese restaurant into modern avant-garde design using familiar patterns and icons to infuse into modern Chinese contemporary style.
An artist was commissioned to design two Empress Robes made up of two contrasting materials; one of it is made with silk embroidery of a dragon sewn on the plastic robe, while the other is made of clay. The clarity of plastic material represents heaven while clay represents earth.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The location of the restaurant was situated on the sixth floor of a building, unlike shopping malls or street level operations, posed as a challenge for its brand presence. This meant that it’s a destination type of establishment.
From an interior point of view, focus was on the experience and how the space unveils itself to reveal the “wow” factor of the design.
As the building’s lift stops on the sixth floor, the door opens to the only F&B establishment on that level. This meant that the guest would be expecting the norm in most type of Chinese restaurants. Guests are greeted with a frontage which had design limitations by the main building owner. However, a pallet of old Chinese roof tiles and modern laser cut screens were put together, obscuring what is to come.
The design layout of the establishment took on an open dining concept with great resemblance to the theme of “dining with the emperor”.
While at one side, a full showmanship kitchen show off their culinary skills in the art of “hand pulled noodles” and piping hot “xiao long bao – soup dumpling”. Moving from the main dining hall to the semi-private hallways and private rooms, the majestic translucent robe is seen floating over a reflected pool. The spaces unfold, subtly revealing the experiences within the compound.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in August 2014 and ended in January 2015. The location is at 6/F, Lee Theatre, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong near Times Square.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Interior Space and Exhibition Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
This restaurant was part of a Singapore-grown international F&B chain. To make this flagship unique, art was used as an integral language, in a city like Hong Kong. The space had 2 key art pieces.
One is a life-size Ming Emperor robe in transparent membrane with silk embroidery, symbolises the majesty of heaven and the humble reality of earth. Discussions were held in 2014 with an artist in China where he shared his skills and this spawned the idea of using art in this Chinese themed flagship restaurant. Thick plastic film and sheet used for the flaps that were found in walk-in chillers and freezers, was chosen as the base material. Hand sewn silk embroidery was coupled with this.
For the other robe, terracotta clay pecs were used. Each of these pecs had to be shaped to its unique shape and profile, and the contours of the robe. All 5000 pieces of clay plates were tediously stringed together with steel rings. Each of these terracotta pieces had a rough texture, symbolising the unrefined and raw reflection of humanity on earth.
All the other materials used for the interior were, basic and earthy materials such as fired homogenous tiles and laser cut timber screen panels. Another interesting design element was the acrylic drawers that created a luminous and translucent red backdrop for the “heaven” robe. These little drawers mimic the design of China’s imperial medical hall’s medicinal drawers where the physicians would pick the types of herbs for the emperor.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Chinese Contemporary Restaurant, Dynasty, Traditional, Modern
The main focus was on the design thematic of the restaurant. It would be different to design a Chinese theme restaurant in Hong Kong versus one in the western part of the world. Design elements and themes used in Asian cities interpret the Chinese theme differently. For example, Chinese designs have dragons and obvious Chinese colour of red and heavy ornaments. However, when used in an Asian city, these are considered nothing special and old fashion.
Hence, tedious brainstorming on ways to express this theme in which Asians can see it as hip, relatable and be embraced with its experiences.
Natural colours were adopted and traditional design motif expressions were used. Formal and casual space planning, and adaptive colours were also weaved in.
Research was done to understand the Ming Dynasty and then reinterpreted into today’s modern context. More importantly, portraying a folk tale of how the design comes together; a mix of heaven on earth.
The two main hurdles of the project were the remote location and the extremely low ceiling levels. The former was countered by ensuring the design will attract the curiosity of patrons. The latter was to ensure that the ceiling is maximised and managed so that the space will not give a claustrophobic experience.
The interpretation of the space was in line with the client’s expectations. Therefore, how the experience and success fell in place was shown through its popularity – long queues and bookings for a table.
TEAM MEMBERS (3) :
Creative Director: Mr Benjamin Kim, Creative Director (China): Mr Sun Hao and Senior Designer: Ms Jocelyn Asuncion