Posts in Eat & Drink
Ryota Kapou Modern

Tucked inside a bijou space on On Lan Street, a premium address in Hong Kong’s central, is Ryota Kapou Modern. The design by Louie Shum and his team at House of Beast has successfully avoided all the usual design tropes of what we’ve come to expect from Japanese restaurants.

A ceiling pendant by Jader Almeida from  Sollos  is suspended over the banquette with modern windsor chairs by Matthew Hilton from  De La Espada

A ceiling pendant by Jader Almeida from Sollos is suspended over the banquette with modern windsor chairs by Matthew Hilton from De La Espada

Pairs of vintage Italian armchairs hug the window-facing wall looking out over the city’s magnificent skyline. In the far end corner, a green floating banquette is faced by modern windsor chairs and a small ficus tree. An almost art deco inspired saucer shaped pendant illuminates an elaborately grained marble table in the private dining room.

Amongst these unexpected touches there are still elements of tradition visible, walls lined in washi paper, metal detailing, large swathes of expertly matched natural stone, and the hand crafted ceramics that Shum and his team commissioned from three renowned ceramic artists from Japan - Shusaku Ichino, Akihiro Nikaido and Sogo Takashi.

Of all these elements its the kitchen, that was custom designed for the space, that Chef Ryota Kanesawa says unsurprisingly is his favorite element within the new restaurant. Formerly of Zuma and two Michelin-starred restaurant Tenku Ryogin, Chef Kanesawa says he had dreamed of this kitchen for some time. It’s the open kitchen, giving the chef a direct view over the dining room, that make this a true Kappou style restaurant.

Through multiple courses in a selection of tasting menus you’ll find fresh seasonal ingredients hand selected by the Chef himself to showcase the simplicity for which his cuisine has become known, and expertly paired with a selection of sake as a surprising as the space itself.

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Dennis Lo

At the kitchen counter are velvet covered bar stools by GamFratesi from  Gubi

At the kitchen counter are velvet covered bar stools by GamFratesi from Gubi

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The large brass saucer in the private dining room is by  Florian Schulz

The large brass saucer in the private dining room is by Florian Schulz

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A Journey of the Senses

Newly opened John Anthony dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay is a photogenic explosion of colour and materiality rich in narrative and immersive experience

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Designed by Linehouse, the fit-out’s concept takes its lead from the East to West voyage of John Anthony, the first Chinese man naturalised as a British citizen in 1805. An employee of the East India Company, he arrived in Limehouse, the east end docklands of London, and soon after founded the district’s Chinatown.

The design celebrates this idea of exploration and discovery through a combination of architectural styles, colours and materials, giving patrons plenty to look at. As Linehouse co-director Briar Hickling explains, ‘We wanted to play on the retro nostalgia of the Chinese canteen, fusing it with colonial detailing and material from a British tea hall.’ The resulting attention to detail is exquisite, perfectly capturing the designers’ intention via a timber bar and gin tubes infused with blends of botanicals found along the Spice Routes, wicker leaners and furniture, and opulent floral upholstery.    

In the main dining hall, an arch motif is repeated throughout the scheme in a modernised interpretation of the docklands’ historic vaulted storehouses. The arches highlight the verticality and lightness of the space and their dusty pink lacquer finish adds an unexpected element of whimsy. Hickling and the team used reclaimed materials where possible, such as terracotta tiles sourced from old rural houses in China, and their use of handmade elements, including the clay render on the walls of the dining hall and hand-dyed indigo fabric, is especially evocative of John Anthony’s journey.

Indeed, the hands of the designers and those of the craftspeople involved in realising this fit-out are evident at every turn. Local artists were commissioned to paint the illustrations printed onto the tiles of the private dining rooms and the wicker pieces are all handwoven. ‘Working with materials that are handmade allowed for a lot of surprises during installation,’ says Hickling. ‘But in the end, these elements further enrich the project, allowing for variation and contributing something unpredictable.’

It’s surprising to realise this restaurant occupies a basement, such is the vibrancy and brightness of the design. Linehouse has successfully delivered an outcome that invites at every turn. Not only is it a feast for the eyes, but every surface, from textural tiles to luxurious fabrics, begs to be touched. Patrons will be returning for the gin selection as much as they are for an interior that transports them to another world.

Text / Leanne Amodeo
Images / Jonathan Leijonhufvud

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The Chinese Library

In Hong Kong’s newly opened Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, restaurants Statement and The Chinese Library celebrate the building’s history

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The long-awaited Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, formerly Hong Kong’s Central Police Station, is finally open to the public after extensive restoration. The Hong Kong public have been eagerly awaiting the opening and are arriving in hoards to check out the city’s latest cultural and lifestyle destination. And what would a lifestyle hub in Hong Kong be without a few new restaurants?

Of note is Statement and The Chinese Library, both run by Aqua group, situated on Hollywood road facing the Police Headquarters block. Aside from the historic architectural features, the building is flanked by parallel verandas — facing both Hollywood Road and the inner courtyard or ‘Parade Square’ — providing outdoor space that is nothing short of a rarity in Hong Kong.

Guests enter via The Dispensary, reminiscent of a Colonial-era bar and inspired by the mixed-race mess hall that once existed there in the early 1900’s, and take a left to dine on Hong Kong-style cuisine at The Chinese Library, or turn right for its English counterpart, Statement. The concept for the space, says designer Ed Ng of the interior design firm AB Concept who were charged with the interiors, was to represent the story and the journey of Hong Kong.

Retaining as many of the original features was a priority, Ng says. The wooden floors and window frames were left untouched, allowing guests to better envisage the original space. The venue’s original function inspired many of the details too — mirrors and decoration take the form of police officers’ badges, while the royal blue colour was inspired by police uniforms.

Like many cities, Hong Kong and its citizens are always keen to see and be seen in the newest and hottest places. What makes this venue so unique and unusual is its location in one of Hong Kong’s few remaining heritage buildings and one which Ng, a Hongkonger born and raised, believes is one of its most iconic.

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Courtesy of Aqua Group

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ESORA

Clouds, sky, nature — these elements inspire the elegant, calm and sensorial design of ESORA, a new fine-dining Japanese restaurant by The Lo & Behold Group

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There is something poetic about the word ‘Esora’. It has a lyrical tone when spoken, and the meaning —translated to “painting in the sky” from Japanese — suggests an atmosphere that is genteel, calm and artistic. These are precisely the qualities one encounters in the newest F&B establishment by The Lo & Behold Group in Singapore, housed in a shophouse along Mohamed Sultan Road. From the food, to the plating and environment, a holistic journey is crafted from entry to exit.

The 26-seater Japanese fine-dining restaurant is helmed by Chef Shigeru Koizumi, whose experience at three-star Michelin restaurant Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo and two-star Michelin Odette at Singapore’s National Gallery segues into an authentic take on kappo cuisine – a multicourse meal where guests are served at the counter by the chef who decides on the menu. Modern cooking techniques such as the use of pacojets and liquid nitrogen result in inventive gastronomy and the option of a first-of-its-kind tea pairing takes the meal to another level.

The restaurant’s name was chosen by Koizumi, whose fondness for the sky stems from growing up surrounded by nature. This fascination is most apparent in the skylight above the chef’s table and counter seats; dressed in a pleated cloud of Japanese washi paper, its honeycomb pattern washes diffused light down. In this ethereal mise-en-scène, light and shadow animate the surfaces in a gentle dance that transforms through the day.

The setting is crafted by design studio Takenouchi Webb, who also designed The Lo & Behold Group’s other popular establishments, such as The White Rabbit and Tanjong Beach Club. The ability to fashion engaging narratives out of materials is the studio’s forte. Here, the palette is subdued but not without interest. Anchoring one end of the counter is a marble wall, whose sinewy veins inject visual movement into the stillness of the space. Emerald patterned tiles line the walls of the kitchen and tea preparation niche — their delicate size increasing the depth of space.

Natural materials abound, reflecting the seasonal ingredients used. Plaster, timber and stone clad the surfaces while touches of marble and copper provide a more contemporary edge. 'The palette of materials is very restrained. We wanted a bright, modern feel. Modernised Japanese elements comprise timber grid screens with shoji paper effect, the wall behind the chef’s table, which has a very stylised tokonoma (display alcove) element, and the plaster with timber panels that line the wall,’ says the studio's co-founder Marc Webb.

On the other side of the counter, a separate seating area can be screened off when necessary. Adjustments in screen design subtly demarcate the different zones and echo the rhythmic lines of the cylindrical stairwell behind this area. Throughout, rounded details continue the cloud motif. ‘We wanted to soften the space and so rounded the plaster corners of the walls and introduced a series of curved coves around the skylight. The effect of this gives an underlying calm to the restaurant,’ Webb explains.

Other features contribute to the creation of a holistic experience, such as Tay Bak Chiang’s abstract painting Fringe, whose black singular imprint creates a focal point in the restaurant, and the design of a step down at the chef’s kitchen so the chef can be closer to eye-level with patrons sitting at the counter. This reflects Koizumi’s one-degree approach — a term coined by the chef himself to describe the extreme level of attention to detail adopted throughout Esora.

Text / Jingmei Luo
Images / Jovian Lim

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ICHU

The H Queen’s Building in Hong Kong’s Central district was custom designed by CL3 Architects to house art. Heavy-hitters in the art world like Hauser & Wirth, Pace, Pearl Lam and David Zwirner are all in residence on the upper levels. But the gleaming new tower is quickly becoming home to a number of fine dining destinations too.

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Case in point is the recently revealed ICHU, the brainchild of Peruvian chef and restaurateur Virgilio Martinez Véliz. Recognised internationally for his efforts in bringing a modern twist to his native cuisine via Central Restaurante in Peru — a frequent addition to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

In the new Hong Kong location Chef Martinez wanted to ‘replicate the atmosphere of Lima’s local cevicherias’, and ‘honour Peru’s no-fuss dining culture where the atmosphere is relaxed, the dishes are shared and the recipes highlight fresh ingredients and traditional flavours.’

The authentic, sophisticated flavours are enjoyed in equally sophisticated surrounds, courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio. Wang’s signature cinematic approach is evident in her studio’s latest project — a cleverly crafted narrative that creates a sense of discovery, an experience that unfolds throughout the course of the evening as a stunning backdrop to the highly inventive menu. The thoughtfully designed interiors were inspired by the unique mountainous terrain of Peru, which, explains Wang, ‘has one of the most varied ecosystems in the world, and we wanted to reflect that in our design.’ The dynamic colour palette and selection of richly textured materials ‘capture Martinez’s creative culinary style,’ she adds.

The studio collaborated with local artist Vivian Ho to create an art piece that takes centre stage. The mega-scale landscape vibrantly illustrates, as Wang points out, the ‘interdependent relationship of the various flora and fauna — an ecosystem that speaks to the unique network of flavours offered on the menu.’

The layers of richness are carefully tempered with a rawness that, like a good cerviche, is flavourful but not overwhelming. But don’t just take our word for it, go and see for yourself.

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Courtesy of ICHU

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Inkwood Restaurant & Bar

One of the first restaurants to open in Shanghai's Columbia Circle, INKWOOD Restaurant & Bar is chef Beichuan Yang’s first solo endeavour. Serving European dishes with a Chinese influence and designed by Shanghai-based multidisciplinary design studio STUDIO8, INKWOOD has become a destination for the city’s fans of contemporary dining.

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Yang approached Studio8 founders Andrea Maira and Shirley Dong to conceive and create the restaurant’s visual identity and interior after seeing of one of the firm’s earlier designs, the Caozitou bench, which appealed to him for its simplicity and playfulness.

INKWOOD, from the name to the design aesthetic and menu, reflects the symbiosis between two seemingly dissimilar concepts. Yang himself is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures, having spent his childhood in China and his later years training as a chef in Canada then working alongside renowned chefs in North America. Back in China, Yang now shares his passion for using local ingredients to create innovative international dishes.

It was only once Yang had settled on the name that Maira and Dong began to conceptualise the visual identity and interior design of INKWOOD. 'On one hand, wood represents nature and ink represents constant daily routine. On the other hand, wood represents the ingredients and ink represents the sauces that make ingredients more flavourful,' Yang explains. However, rather than focus on either ink or wood the designers were drawn to what would become the key concept: the connection between the two.

Material and colour combinations express the marriage of ink and wood without detracting from the food. This ‘stroke of symbiosis’ is expressed in the recurring motif of a brass stripe, which appears on the floor, walls and furniture, as well as in the custom-made light fixtures.

Perhaps the most striking design element is the colour combinations, which were inspired by the colours of wood, sauce and ink that invoke, for Maira, the colour palette used often by Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. Maira explains, 'I want guests to feel the intensity and temperatures of wood and ink, and to "taste" the sauce and ingredients with their eyes first.' The designers chose dark green boiserie for the bottom section of the walls, making it seem as if the entire restaurant has been dipped in dark green ink. The remaining wall space is mustard yellow and finished with a rough texture that absorbs and reflects light, creating a soft, warm ambience.

Yang conceived the menu of sharing dishes and the space (with a variety of seating combinations) as a place to bring people together. The chef’s table looks into the kitchen through a large window, allowing guests to observe the cooking process. Below the window is a bookshelf on which Yang and his partners have curated a selection of their favourite cookbooks.

Studio8 has made sure that the details, from the tableware to the carefully selected custom-made accessories and paintings, and even the flowers and plants, tell the story of INKWOOD’s design - 'like the chemistry created by food and sauce, delicate, warm and many-layered'.

Text / Simone Schultz
Images / Rosu, Studio8

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Fukuro!

A new spot for night owls in Hong Kong

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Japanophiles will know all too well that finding great food anywhere in the country is not difficult, particularly in the capital. Surrounding each eki (train station) is invariably a cluster of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But where you’ll find weary salarymen at the end of a long day, and into the wee hours of the next morning, are izakaya. A casual style eatery offering beer, shochu and a menu consisting of mainly grilled items, essentially Japan’s version of a pub.

Until recently the offering of Japanese fare in Hong Kong has been mostly limited to one end of the scale, high-end sashimi and Kaiseki restaurants. Enter Fukuro (meaning owl, presumably of the night variety) - one of the latest establishments by the highly successful F&B Group Black Sheep.

Upon entering the mysterious facade on the bottom end of Elgin street, you’ll hear an enthusiastic greeting, ‘welcome to Fukuro’, much like the choral ‘irasshaimashe!’ you’d receive in Japan. The design of the subterranean interiors that lay beyond are by Maxime Dautresme and his team at multi-disciplinary studio Substance. The simplicity of the casual sharing menu is reflected in the interiors. Polished concrete floors are balanced with plenty of warmth in the timber-lined walls and the warm subtle glow of wall sconces. A mix of bar seating and group banquette tables contributes to the relaxed atmosphere.

Quite often a night out in Japan starts in an izakaya and concludes in a Karaoke club, so get your tonsils ready...

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Dennis Lo

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Mean Noodles

What do you get when a Cornell graduate architect is also a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef? You’d expect nothing less than this delectable hole-in-the-wall

Mean Noodles is the passion project of partners in life and work - Caroline Chou and Kevin Lim of OpenUU, The name is a riff on the phonetic pronunciation of the word noodles in Cantonese ‘mean’, and a play on the alternative, hipper meaning of the word, to have a ‘mean bowl of noodles’.

Tucked away in an alley in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan neighbourhood the casual noodle shop displays the couple’s love of good design and good food. Vintage-inspired elements are the main motif — starting with the metal window and door frames that compose the façade. The nostalgia continues inside with retro-looking glazed tiles that the designers sourced in Spain. Installed in a patchwork fashion, a mix of solid colour and groovy floral patterns are reminiscent of a Batik fabric. Entirely appropriate that both the fabric and the food have roots in South East Asia.

The comfort factor extends beyond the food too — with USB outlets easily accessible from the counter seats and ladies will rejoice at hooks provided for handbags!

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Nirut Benjabanpot

The Designer’s Guide to Paris

Heading to Paris this September for Maison&Objet? Here are a few of our favorite places to stay, shop, eat, drink and see.

Bon voyage!

Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers

Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers

Hotels

Where to stay

There has been a flurry of new designer hotels opening in Paris in recent years, but we think these are the best picks of where to put your head down when the lights go out in the city of light.

Set in twin low-rise buildings on a quiet street, the Hôtel Adèle & Jules is a discreet gem. Designed by Stephane Poux the spaces feel warm and modern with a classic twist. Make this your base and you’ll be surrounded by some of the best of what Paris has to offer.

Hôtel Bachaumont

Hôtel Bachaumont

Hotel Des Grands Boulevards

Hotel Des Grands Boulevards

Hôtel Bachaumont is proof that designer Dorothee Melichzon is not afraid of colour. Here she has infused each of the spaces with a distinctive palette. The lobby bar is run by the lauded Experimental Group (of Experimental  Cocktail Club fame), but aside from moreish cocktails it’s also a place to see and be seen.

First time hotelier Michele Delloye wanted to create a space that felt more like a comfortable guest house, and a platform to showcase French creativity, the result is COQ Hôtel. The acronym stands for Community of Quality. Designed by Pauline d’Hoop and Delphine Sauvaget of Agence Favorite, this petite place has only fifty rooms.

The long anticipated re-opening of the Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel, was worth the wait. The team of high profile designers includes Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian and fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. Grand and stately but not at all pompous the hotel has incorporated an impressive art collection to grace its walls. Four dining destinations mean you have plenty of options —  including L’Ecrin, awarded one Michelin star earlier this year. The subterranean pool and comprehensive spa facilities (including a men’s grooming station) makes this one hotel from where you’ll literally never want to check out.

By the Experimental group, and designed by the current doyenne of Parisian design Dorothee Melichzon is Hotel Des Grands Boulevards. With only fifty rooms this hotel has a decidedly more boutique vibe to it. The building is quite historic but Ms Melichzon has infused the rooms with just enough tech and modernity. Our tip: book one of the attic-style junior suites and sleep like royalty.

The Hoxton, Paris

The Hoxton, Paris

The newest and maybe the hippest on the list is the latest edition to The Hoxton stables. The Parisian outpost has been designed by the team at SOHO House (the public spaces) and rooms by Humbert & Poyet. Located in the heart of the 2e — location wise it doesn’t get much better. You’ve got four basic room types, all furnished in a simple industrial-hipster chic decor. The Moroccan-themed ‘Jacques Bar’ and the all-day-dining ‘Rivié’ complete the dining options although you’ll be spoilt for choice in the near vicinity.

The Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte

The Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte

The Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte, or JoBo for short, was named after one of the country’s most famous pair of lovers. The interiors, by decorator Bambi Sloan, are as quintessentially French as they come and were heavily inspired by the iconic Madeleine Castaing. Walls are bedecked with toile, animal prints or napoleonic emblems and motifs. It’s a rich, historically imbued pastiche of design elements, but mixed with all the mod cons. Situated in the heart of the le Marais you’re just a quick walk from all that the right bank and the Rue de Rivoli has to offer.

Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers

Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers

Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers

Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers

A quiet newcomer to the scene is the Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers. The name refers to the traditions of craft and materials that the French are so highly regarded for. Designer Raphael Navot was charged with the design, a fitting partner as he’s known for “made-to-measure interiors, combining traditional methods with contemporary savoir-faire”. There are only seventy rooms in this boutique accommodation but each of them display the best that contemporary French design has to offer.

Nolinski

Nolinski

Hotel Panache

Hotel Panache

Modern French elegance reigns supreme at the Nolinski. Designed by Jean-Louis Deniot each of the rooms has been decorated with his signature mix of custom, antique and vintage and feels more like a very chic residence than a hotel.  Even if you’re not checking-in the ground floor Brasserie Rejane is well worth a visit for a stylish dining experience.

Another recent project by designer Dorothee Melichzon is Hotel Panache. Each of the forty rooms are different, all a little bit quirky and fun, and all very chic. Its location makes this new bolthole a short walk from numerous neighbourhood establishments, if you decide to venture out you won’t need to go far. Worth checking out are the groups other properties Hotel Paradis, also designed by Dorothee Melichzon and  Hotel Bienvenue designed by Chloé Nègre.

Hôtel Saint-Marc

Hôtel Saint-Marc

In the heart of the right bank is the new Hôtel Saint-Marc.  Designed by Dimore Studio the interiors are as hip, fresh and inimitable as you would expect from the Milan-based duo. No doubt the swathes of pattern and generous lashings of pink have made this an instant instagram favorite. Not just a pretty face though, despite its central location the hotel has also managed to squeeze in a pool and comprehensive spa facilities.

Only thirty seven rooms makes the Le Roch Hotel & Spa one of the smallest of the new boutique offerings. Unmistakenly Parisian, the interiors the lobby, restaurant and bar are dark and decidedly moody, and slightly more casual. While the rooms are lighter and crisper.  Designed by Sarah Lavoine, who also resides in the neighbourhood, she’s imbued the spirit of the locale in each of the spaces. True to its name, and despite its central 1e location, you’ll find fully fledged swimming pool and spa facilities to indulge yourself in.


Retail

Where to shop

One of the world’s fashion capitals, it goes without saying that Paris is undoubtedly a shopping mecca. You shouldn’t limit yourself to just clothes and accessories, there is a plethora of ultra hip boutiques proffering a highly curated selection of books, home accessories, furnishings, and more.

Christian Liaigre

Christian Liaigre

Karl Lagerfeld is quoted as having once said ‘I have a fatal attraction for books. A disease I don't want to be cured of’. His library at his own Paris apartment is famous, but the bookshop he owns and curates — 7L Bookshop — is lesser known to overseas visitors. This left bank store is well worth a visit for any booklover, particularly those looking to discover a tome or two on art, fashion, design and architecture. Often rare, out of print, independant titles are to be found.

‘For us, books are a matter of intellect and emotion, of heritage and innovation’ say the founders of luxury book publisher Assouline. The maison’s pint-sized Paris outpost is a must see if you’ve got space in your suitcase, because you’ll be sure to want to lug back a couple of these divine books.

Astier de Vilatte’s signature ceramics are hand-made in an historical workshop in Bastille — once home to Napoleon’s own silversmith. Made with black terracotta and then fired with a milky white glaze, each piece is unique. There is charm in imperfection — and you’ll be sure to agree once you lay eyes on their collection of everything a chic home needs from plates to pitchers.

Paris has a few fantastic department stores, but we always find it hard to go past Bon Marche. And even harder to leave the basement food court. In this subterranean space you’ll find all manner of French gourmet delights, from cheeses and cured meats to preserves — the list goes on. Between the lower level foodie paradise, to the top level book and stationery department (heaven for print geeks), you’ll find one of the city’s best selections of clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and the home.  

Buly 1803

Buly 1803

Founded in 1803 Officine Buly 1803 on rue Saint-Honoré by perfumier Jean-Vincent Bully the brand has since opened flagship stores around the world, but the boutique on rue Bonaparte feels like a relic from another time. While the collection has grown and formulas modified, the packaging remains the same charming style making each item a decorative accessory as much as functional products.

French designer Christian Liaigre is the master of a bold, highly-crafted minimalism. No longer the creative director of his namesake company, but his legacy lives on in the new flagship store on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Textiles, accessories, home fragrance and the highly covetable furniture collection are available so you can recreate as much or as little of the look at home.

If you really need to pick up some new threads while you’re in town, we’ll forgive you for that. Ex-Hermès creative director Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran are behind the collection, Lemaire, showcased in a beautiful boutique on the right bank. Here you’ll find womenswear and menswear displaying a paired-back simplicity that is modern yet adventurous.

Merci

Merci

A retail icon since it was founded in 2009, Merci has a carefully curated selection of home and living accoutrement, a fine selection of books, and an insightful edit of mens and womens wear. Set back from the street by a small courtyard, you can’t miss it for the iconic, and now oft instagrammed red fiat parked and often artfully styled. With three cafes on site, you can while away many an hour here.

In a delightful neighbourhood in the 3rd arrondissement, the OFR Librarie & Galerie has a stellar selection of independent contemporary books, magazines, fanzines, posters and other printed matter related to art, fashion and design. They regularly hold exhibitions too

Husband and wife team Ria and Youri Augousti have been working together for decade to produce their own furniture and accessories under the R&Y Augousti label. Their boutique on rue du Bac showcases their range perfectly. Highly inspired by the opulence of the art deco era as well as the decadent materials — these still feature in their work. Expect to see unusual combinations including bronze work with shagreen, exotic animal skins, metal leaf, precious stones and shell — often mixed together.


bars & Restaurants

Where to eat and drink

Burned a few calories on your retail therapy session? Here’s where we think you should revive, imbibe and indulge.

In the heart of one of the most walkable neighbourhoods in Paris, saint Germain des Près, is L’ Alcazar. The space is deceptively large but feels like an indoor garden with lush green foliage and simple elegant furnishings courtesy of local designer Laura Gonzalez. The menu consists of modern cuisine that is fresh and light, with meals served from brunch to dinner.

Balagan  Image by Studio l'Etiquette

Balagan
Image by Studio l'Etiquette

The place everyone is talking about in Paris right now is Balagan. The name translates from Hebrew to ‘beautiful mess’ — which is an indication of what to expect from the menu. Simple but chic interiors by Dorothee Melichzon are the delightful backdrop to one more establishment from the Experimental Group. Headed by two top Israeli chefs — Assaf Granit and Uri Navon, and new talent Dan Yosha, the menu consists of a fusion of Moroccan, French and Israeli recipes and everything is designed to share.

Beaupassage

Beaupassage

The French are known to like their food, so it’s really no surprise that something like Beaupassage would be developed in Paris. The only surprise is that it took so long. Officially opening at the end of August is a section of a pedestrian street dedicated entirely to food, wellness and a bit of art thrown in for good measure. Destinations will include a restaurant and wine cellar by Yannick Alléno, a cheese shop by Nicole Barthélémy, a street seafood restaurant by two star chef Olivier Bellin, a boulangerie by starred chef Thierry Marx, a new concept from chocolatier and pastry chef Pierre Hermé, an epicurean outlet by three star chef Anne-Sophie Pic, a Boucherie by breeder and butcher Alexandre Polmard plus a coffee shop by barista Junichi Yamaguchi. Bon appetite!

A quintessentially parisian dining spot, Chez Julien never disappoints. On the edge of the right bank of the Seine (in fact we highly recommend a stroll after dinner to top of the night) this is a place that you can eat alone or in a group and it will be equally special. The decor is old school and cosy and the shabby-chicness only looks more chic when candelit.  Another tip — start the night with an apertif at Au Petit Fer à Cheval, another charming local haunt that’s a short walk from the restaurant.

Le Flandrin was a stalwart on the Paris dining scene but looking tired until famed designer Joseph Dirand gave it a makeover recently. Now it’s a picture of opulent decadence, with walls covered in gleaming gold and a heady art-deco influenced mix of furnishings and finishes. Go for a drink, stay for dinner. The menu consists of classic French dishes that don’t disappoint.

The most famous French bakery and patisserie is the 150 year-old Ladurée. Their pistachio green shop facades, dotted around several locations in the city (and now internationally) are instantly recognisable. While the macarons are what they’re known for, we recommend you try the Religieuse (raspberry to be precise). It is as close to a religious experience you can have with a pastry.

Behind the rather non-descript front door at Le Mary Celeste you’ll find inventive cocktails, wine, oysters (they even do an oyster happy hour!) and some of the best bar food in the city. Come for the oysters, stay because of the chilled vibe and because you won’t need dinner after eating here.

LouLou

LouLou

Located inside one of our favorite cultural destinations — the musée des Arts décoratifs — is this stylish new cafe designed by Joseph Dirand. The menu at LouLou is overseen by young chef Benoit Dargère and is inspired by the French and Italian Riviera. The space is suitably hip, as you’d expect from anything designed by Dirand, but on a nice day it’s the exterior that we think makes this place a winner.

Monsier Bleu

Monsier Bleu

Another breathtaking cultural food combination designed by Joseph Dirand is Monsier Bleu, this one is attached to the Palais de Tokyo. The American-inspired brasserie style menu has a few classics and a few surprises. You can’t lose dining here — either sit inside and take in the stunning surroundings, or sit outside and enjoy the view of the Eiffel tower. Either way it’s going to be a meal you’ll remember.

If you like your gin (at let’s face it, who doesn’t these days) and feel like a tipple in Paris, then head over to one of our favourites — Tiger bar. It's located on a toursity street, but don’t let that fool you, the crowd here is very local. Inside you can expect an expertly concocted spanish-style gin tonic (with fresh seasonal botanicals, served in a balloon glass), from one of 130 gins mixed with their homemade tonic. No wonder it’s frequently listed as one of the best gin bars around.


Sights

What to see and do

Where do we start? Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and there’s little wonder why. Apart from its perennial beauty and charm, there is a list an arm and a leg long of fantastic cultural institutions to visit and other interesting places to see. These are a few of our faves.

Galerie-Musée Baccarat

Galerie-Musée Baccarat

The Galerie-Musée Baccarat is worth a visit to see the selection of over 350 pieces from the company’s collection that’s been amassed since it was founded in 1765. An added, oft unknown, bonus is that parchment walls that line one of rooms were designed by Jean-Michel Frank with bronze doors created by architect and decorator Eileen Gray in the 1920s when the building was the home of wealthy patrons Marie-Laure and Charles de Noailles.

Centre Georges Pompidou

Centre Georges Pompidou

The controversial design for the Centre Georges Pompidou (a collaboration between several architects including Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers) is often called ugly and brutalist but undoubtedly helped earn Rogers his Pritzker. What’s on the inside is more important, and that’s one of the most progress and avant garde displays of contemporary art, an impressive book shop and that’s not to mention the Atelier Brancusi that’s connected. On a nice day one of our favorite things to do is buy a crème glacée (ice cream à la française) and sit in the square to the rear of the museum and soak it all up.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Fondation Louis Vuitton

The Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton is worth visiting for the arresting architecture alone. On the skirts of one of Paris’ largest parks there are a multitude of opportunities for an incredible view of the city and surrounds. But don’t let that distract you from this seriously impressive art collection. The exhibitions are changing regularly enough for a visit each time you’re in town.

Designed by architect Pierre Chareau, Maison de Verre, was built in the early twentieth century for its original owner, Dr Jean Dalsace. The doctor and his family resided on the upper levels, while the ground floor housed his practise. The house has since changed hands and now belongs to former Wall Street magnate Robert Rubin. Mr Rubin has had the building restored and preserved and its now open to infrequent and limited tours. To be eligible to visit  you must be a student or professional working in architecture or related fields. To apply you need to email mdv31@orange.fr 3-4 months in advance of your desired time with a email outlining your interest in the building and your qualifications. Good luck. It’s worth the effort — we promise!

Paris has an impressive litany of grand, tourist-filled museums. We highly recommend you try a few of the more petite and lesser known ones instead. For example, the Musée national Gustave Moreau is in what was the private home of artist and namesake Gustave Moreau. The house itself is quaint and charming and filled to the brim with the artists furniture, books and personal belongings. The two upper levels were once the artist’s studio and now display an impressive selection of Moreau’s more important works.

Another former home turned museum was that which belonged to Moïse de Camondo, a wealthy Ottoman banker and art collector. Now the Musée Nissim de Camondo (named after his son) is open to the public. The mansion contains an impressive collection of French decorative art and fine art from an era considered to be the belle epoque.

While one of the most iconic artists of the twentieth century was in fact Spanish, not French, the Musée Picasso in Paris was donated and bequeathed a collection that includes 5,000 important works of art and tens of thousands of archival documents. This includes Picasso’s own private collection and works donated by his heirs and children. An extensive renovation was completed in 2014 replete with furnishings and light fixtures by Giacometti. For anyone even vaguely interested in art, this is a must see.

For architecture buffs — Villa La Roche was built by Le Corbusier and his cousin and frequent collaborator Pierre Jeanneret in 1925 and later renovated by Charlotte Perriand. Since named a UNESCO World Heritage site, and now open to the public, its managed by the Fondation Le Corbusier. Next door sits Villa Jeanneret, a private home commissioned by the architect’s brother, which houses the Le Corbusier archives. The Jeanneret home is not open to the public but the library is accessible by appointment. After several years of renovation the Studio Apartment of Le Corbusier has now reopened to the public. And if you want to do the full Le Corbusier pilgrimage, then a visit to Villa Savoye is a must. Though technically not in Paris, but in an outlying village called Poissy, lies what many an architect would say is a masterpiece. Designed by Le Corbusier and built in 1927 according to his modernist principles the house was originally built as a weekender and displays a number of unique features that won’t go unnoticed to the trained eye.

The Straits Club

A wave of entrepreneurs, creatives and social innovators — from new-age hawkers to upstart product designers — is shaking up the status quo in Singapore and creating demand for a new breed of private members’ clubs. Enter The Straits Clan. Housed in a heritage shophouse, the club provides an environment conducive to creative connections.

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Managed by lifestyle company The Lo & Behold Group under the direction of Wee Teng Wen, the clubhouse celebrates contemporary living in South East Asia while offering an update to the colonial- era hallmark. ‘We had a vision of creating a private members’ club that sought to challenge what that has traditionally stood for,’ explains Wee. ‘We wanted a club that is a modern representation of how we live, work and play in our part of the world.’

As guests enter the 2000-square-metre heritage building, they are immersed in homage to the city-state. With interiors deftly handled by local design duo Takenouchi Webb, references to Singapore’s architectural markers include Shanghai plaster adapted from neoclassical colonial buildings, ventilation blocks from public housing stairwells and Peranakan- inspired tilework. According to the designers, staying true to local culture was the cornerstone of the project brief.

And when it came to the historic structure, scrupulous attention was paid to period detailing. ‘A big part was to see what elements we could bring back to the original form,’ says Marc Webb. A second-level courtyard was thus restored,flanked by a bar and bistro on either side that evoke distinctive eras in Singapore’s history. The bar, decked in contrasting wooden and rattan furnishing, is reminiscent of a colonial taproom, while the bistro recalls 1970s coffee shops with its geometric floor tiles and onyx feature wall.

In the lobby lounge, Clan Café is open to members and the public alike, and offers a refined tea salon setting that transitions into a convivial bar in the evenings. During the day, sunlight streams in through the glass-panelled facade, highlighting a whimsical mural by Singaporean artists RIPPLE ROOT and a towering shelf of eclectic ceramics curated byflorist John Lim of This Humid House. At the same time, the uninterrupted view is reflective of Straits Clan’s ethos — extending a warm welcome to all who share in their appreciation for entrepreneurial zeal and ingenuity.

The community element of the club is key, cultivating conversation and collaboration. ‘Singapore has been pushing boundaries and driving change on so many fronts, but these have been for the most part led by individuals in their own silos,’ explains Wee. At The Straits Clan, he aims to change that.

Text / Joseph Koh
Images / Jovian Lim

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Japan House London

Japan House London opens in the heart of the British Capital, a mecca of Japanese culture, design and aesthetic refinement

It’s nirvana for Japanese design lovers: the minimal interiors inspired by a Japanese house; the restaurant serving seasonal sushi and wagyu beef; a contemporary gallery showcasing futuristic architecture; and a design shop selling crafts ranging from handmade paper to kitchen tools.

This may sound like the kind of impeccably presented creative venture found only in design-conscious Japan, so its location — more than 5,000 miles away from Tokyo —  may come as some surprise: London.

Welcome to Japan House London. Perhaps the Japanese government’s most ambitious cultural project in recent years, Japan House consists of a series of permanent architect-designed spaces in cities across the globe.

Its goal is as simple as its spaces are invariably stylish: to create international platforms showcasing the very best of Japanese culture, from design, art and architecture to food and technology.

Japan House London opened its doors Friday, June 22nd in a historic art deco building on Kensington High Street in the heart of the British capital. It is the third outpost following openings in Sao Paulo and Los Angeles last year, and is likely to become a bold new Japanese fixture on London’s cultural landscape.

An impressive roll call of Japan’s most high-profile talent is involved in the project, among whom rank Kenya Hara — the iconic designer, art director of Muji and Japan House’s chief creative director — and Masamichi Katayama, the interior designer from Wonderwall, who designed the London space defined by its minimal, contemporary aesthetic deeply rooted in Japanese concepts such as tokonoma — the raised, empty alcove traditionally used in homes to display seasonal flowers or scrolls.

‘The objective here was not to create a bridge between Japan and Britain but to present a genuine Japan, for today and the future,’ explained Katayama. ‘Key words are kyo (虚) which means a vacuum and kuu (空) which is emptiness. This is a uniquely Japanese notion that the imagination is enriched by blank, empty spaces. It’s also about how humans, spaces and objects interact with each other to maintain delicate balance and harmony. Our goal was to create this beautiful harmony.’

The building spans three levels and attention to detail is apparent throughout, from the hand-made kawara clay floor tiles from Awaji Island to the scene-stealing central spiral staircase, which was built in Japan before it was shipped to London and re-assembled, piece by piece.

The lower ground floor is home to The Gallery, where an inaugural exhibition casts a spotlight on one of Japan’s most cutting-edge contemporary architects with the show ‘Sou Fujimoto: Futures of the Future’.

Meanwhile, an authentic taste of modern Japanese gastronomy is served up in the restaurant Akira — named for its chef Akira Shimizu — with a menu including charcoal-grilled kushiyaki skewers, seasonal vegetables and sushi.

The Shop at Japan House also showcases contemporary design products and artisan-made crafts from across the country. Japanese teas and cloth-filtered coffees are sold at The Stand, while nearby, The Library is packed with books curated by cult bookstore creator Yoshitaka Haba of Bach alongside a nature-themed exhibition by photographer Risaku Suzuki.

Workshops, seminars, talks and performances feature heavily on the packed schedule at Japan House London. And for the opening weekend? Avant-garde, Tokyo-based floral artist Makoto Azuma has created an abstract installation complemented by 30 so-called ‘Flower Messengers’ who visited Kensington’s cultural institutions on foot, handing out blooms to passers-by along the way — the first of many innovative events likely to forge a deep-rooted cultural connection between London and Japan.

Reflecting on the final production, Katayama said: ‘This project gave me great pleasure and an opportunity to relearn, revisit and reevaluate Japan's aesthetics and the mindset of our people.'

 Text / Danielle Demetriou

Domaine Chandon

Foolscap Studio delivers a high-luxe design for Domaine Chandon in Australia’s Yarra Valley

Victoria’s Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s premier wine regions, with Domaine Chandon one of its most highly regarded wineries. As an outpost of the global Moët Hennessey sparkling wine house, it has a strong French heritage to uphold and does this by using the time-honoured méthode traditionnelle to create its sparkling wines. When Foolscap Studio was tasked with renovating the premises, retaining the brand’s old-world charm within a renewed modern context was of utmost priority.

The brief called for the reconfiguration of the interior to deliver an immersive experience across bar, dining, tasting and retail spaces. ‘They were after a contemporary, more hospitality-focused approach to their service,’ explains Adele Winteridge, the Melbourne-based founder and director of Foolscap Studio. ‘So we brought the retail area out of the tasting room and centred it in a fully integrated environment that celebrates hospitality by offering wine by the glass.’     

It helped that Winteridge had a generous volume in which to work, with breathtaking views out over the natural surrounds. Domaine Chandon’s delicately nuanced pink, green and brown colour palette is inspired by the tonal shifts within the landscape, while natural light floods in via full-height glazing, highlighting the fit-out’s exquisite detailing.

The scheme’s driving concept very much takes its lead from the brand’s traditional winemaking method and uses the idea of alchemy to inform the interior’s spatial planning. Winteridge’s layout plays with the acts of compression and release, creating balance between large, open spaces and smaller, intimate zones. The concept is even realised within the central banquette unit’s curves, which in turn echo the undulating landscape outside — a considered move that adds to the design’s multi-layered expression.

 The alchemy idea is particularly well resolved in the material palette, too. For Winteridge, it was about exploring the way materials react to the passing of time and to various processes. ‘The result of our experimentation is reflected in the application of different metals and metal finishes and treatments. Woven and perforated materials, for instance, are juxtaposed with the solidity of opaque substances to allude to the duality of density and lightness in sparkling wine,’ she explains.

Velvet and aged leather upholstery, terracotta tile and timber flooring, and mesh and perforated steel panels are the perfect backdrop for Domaine Chandon’s product. The wine bottles are presented in various vignettes that echo installations within an art gallery, and the fit-out’s artistry is further reinforced by an oversized suspended kinetic sculpture in the main room. The showstopping piece was custom made by Melbourne-based metalworkers and craftspeople in a nod to local industry and manufacturing.

It’s an incredibly striking interior that invokes grandeur as much in its luxe finishes as it does in the bespoke details. After all, Chandon’s parent brand is French-based luxury goods company LVMH. While the overall aesthetic is definitely luxurious, the design’s ultimate success is to be found in its ability to be both welcoming and high-end, all at the same time.  

Text / Leanne Amodeo
Images / Tom Blachford

David Rockwell, The Diner

Veteran designer David Rockwell speaks with Design Anthology   on the sidelines of this spring’s Salone del Mobile about his pop-up diner installation, design trends and the role of research in his own practice

Design Anthology: In terms of interior design, many firms tend to specialise in one particular area but your firm seems to be very multidisciplinary and working in many sectors. Do you feel that because of that you need to be an expert in each those areas?

David Rockwell: I think what interests me and interests our studio is essentially not being defined by a box around project type. On the other hand, I believe that our design strategy and design research is very fluid. We believe in deep, deep, deep research. So if the you look at the thirty-five years of the Rockwell Group and our divergent practices, they're all connected.

I just turned sixty-one. As a designer, I now have a chance to look in the rear-view mirror to see what are the drivers, what are the things that I'm most interested in, and they're not project types. They‘re about certain ideas including design as a way to bring community together. As different as you could say an airport and a theatre project are, or a pop-up diner, there are certain common investigations. One of them is space as a way of bringing people together and connecting people. When we begin something, like the theatre, not only had I studied it, but I spent two or three years just meeting with directors, talking and sketching and realising that what they were interested in was what I was interested in. And that's how design helps tell a story.

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As you mentioned, your firm has been around now for over three decades. I'm curious to know what are some of the biggest changes that you've seen, particularly in hospitality, but also just in design?

That's such an interesting question because I really believe that by the time you can point to a trend, it's already over. So you know, diners for instance, as I started to work on this I looked into the history of diners. Diners have been in and out of fashion almost every ten years, as has some of the iconography of diners. But from the beginning, diners were about a place that was open when other places were closed, and a place where you could be alone and together. So I've seen so many waves of changes in hospitality.

You know, I've been through pre-‘everything looking like Brooklyn’ and hopefully post-‘everything looking like Brooklyn’. I've been through ‘open kitchens are no good’ and then ‘everything should have an open kitchen’. I think one of the trends I'm seeing now that's a good trend is restaurants based on a point of view of hospitality and food. I don't think design is a starting point. I think design has to come out of some point of view and I'm seeing a return to that. There are a million food markets and food halls and you know of course people will realise they're all similar too, and then that will change.

Well that leads to my next question, which is what do you expect to see more of in the future, either in hospitality specifically or just design in general?

One of the things is, this is a good example of what I'm interested in, is the balance between permanence and impermanence. Theatre is alive for the two-and-a-half hours you're there seeing the show. When you're not there, it's not alive; it only lasts for that period. So this [The Diner installation] is just here for one week. I'd love this to be up longer actually, but I think we're going to see more spaces that morph from day to night because of the difficulty in getting real estate. I think this place will be used for talks and lectures in the evening. It'll be used for karaoke on Wednesday. It's a very flexible space, and I think it's going to be a place people want to be. Not just something that looks good on Instagram and in photographs. The biggest memory will be being here, hopefully.

The day-to-night thing is quite interesting. It sounds like something that will have an effect on any big city in the world and be quite important, as you said, as real estate becomes very expensive. My next question is about the LAB that you have. Can you tell us a little about why you set that up and what you hope to achieve through it? 

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So I set it up I think in 2007 and it came out of a project in which a client was interested in having us develop a whole series of strategies that were outside of our core expertise. It really was there to look at the architecture projects we were doing and explore ways to use technology to keep people together, not to separate people. More and more people are separated by their technology. You can get your food at home, you don't need to leave for any reason. So the reason to come out is to, as I said, be alone and be together, or be alone together. So the LAB worked on a whole series of projects. And then there were sort of two projects where we started to find a rhythm for it, beginning with the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. When we came on board, we inherited a space that had concrete pillars like some Egyptian tomb. It had been built by someone else and abandoned before it was finished. I proposed that we look at technology as a way to put imagery up. It was all open source, so we created a lot of content but it would change over the years. The next project was the Biennale in Venice, where we did an installation around film and architecture. So the LAB has grown now to have several specialties but it is essentially R&D. I think the challenge is to not be predictable. The challenge is to keep looking for new ways to explore ideas and the LAB helps us do that.

That must be a very attractive capability for your clients, that you have the LAB and that you don't necessarily need to be an expert in any one field because you have that capacity for research.

The tech conference just finished. It was in a theatre we created in Vancouver. It’s a really interesting project that is a fifteen hundred seat pop-up theatre that sets up at the convention centre. It creates the perfect space for a one-on-one talk, then packs up in two days and sets up again a year later. That took a lot of R&D. 

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Well this diner is almost theatre in a way, as well. Had you participated in Milan for Salone in this way before?

I have. I wasn't here last year but we had participated before for other things, though nothing on this scale.

So how did this come about? It's a collaboration between you and Surface magazine and then there's a material partner as well — is that right?

There’s a whole bunch of us. What happened was Surface called us and said, ‘We'd like to talk to you guys about doing an installation’. So they said, ‘How would you like to design a diner in Milan?’. And I was immediately compelled and started to research the concept and thought it may be one of the great last symbols of American optimism in design — the history of the diner is fascinating! Plus if I was to create a big installation, the idea that it'd be a place where people could hang out and not just look at was sort of irresistible. So we just dove in head-on. And then we were like whitewashing the fence, like in Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain where he's whitewashing the fence and had to get everyone to help out — we got a lot of other partners who wanted to participate, including Design within Reach.

Speaking of optimism in design in America, is there optimism there at the moment in the design industry? What is the atmosphere like?

I think design is one of the ultimate optimistic professions because you're making things. There's a lot of complicated, challenging conditions in the US now, as there are around the world. Particularly in the US, I think there's a kind of sourness about the country being unified. But diners are a place that appeals to young kids, older people, singles, so I saw it as a chance to go deep into some of the symbols, like the counter. There's a reason why there's a culture called 'counter culture'. It allows you to be a part of the central element that almost organises the space. So there certainly was optimism in getting people to participate in this project. And we got to look back at the counter and the diner's role in popular culture.

Yeah, there's a very strong nostalgic element to it as well, which is quite charming. How long did the entire process take? When did you start working on this?

I don't know the answer to that — it’s one big blur! I don't know. But you know this was custom, custom chemetal. So there are these continuous elements, like the counter, and then there're these different environments. And if we stand here we're going from monochromatic East Coast luncheonette and then this feels more like the Midwest, with brighter colours. And the food, this grilled cheese, we brought the best cheese guy from New York. Murray's Cheese. You really have to try.

I've been hearing good things about the grilled cheese.

It's amazing!

Are diners in the US really that different if you travel from state to state?

Not necessarily. I wanted to emphasise the idea of movement and differentiation.

So the experience changes as you travel through space?

Right. The counter is very solid and on top of it, I've always loved internally lit globes, so we've got these white globes and our shop made these tattoos of the continents. So this is the looser space, where you can see this little stage in the centre, looser furniture, different kinds of booths, the banquette. So when you sit here, you can see there’s this unifying element but there're all of these individual places around, and I do think that people are going to find this to be of use. You can have a meeting, a bite to eat. There's one other subtle design feature, but it's significant, that if you follow this line, there's a clear horizon that continues. So people feel very nestled because of the horizon and the scale. And all of it’s back-lit, so people look great.

As told to / Suzy Annetta

Caravan Hapejong

One success often leads to another. The story of Caravan began in 2016 when Australian designer David Flack, founder of Flack Studio, received a call from Jessica Chung and Adam Kane. The duo were tapping him to design Caravan Hapejong, their first brunch restaurant in Seoul. Within 72 hours, Flack was in Korea, meeting with the Australian expats and sealing the deal. 

Now two years on, the couple have opened a sister restaurant. Located in Seoul’s Dosan Park — the heart of Gangnam’s old garment district — Caravan 2.0 occupies a 120-square-metre space inspired by 1950s-era Italian design with a clear emphasis on craft, texture and handmade elements. ‘It was important for the two spaces to share the same spirit and storytelling, however, both reflect their surrounding districts,’ says Flack. ‘Rather than creating a themed idea of an Australian restaurant, the original brief was more about feelings and moments. The owners discussed childhood memories about what Australia meant to them. It was very much about the positive effects of immigration on the local design and food scene.’

In Caravan 2.0, large exposed ceilings contrast with the marble pattern flooring of different colours and shapes, which give a sense of movement. Powder blue Featherston Scape dining chairs by Grazia & Co. complement leather booths and bespoke walnut screens inlaid with rattan and mirror, evoking nostalgia with a contemporary twist. On the walls, custom brass sconces by Flack Studio and commissioned abstract paintings by Melbourne-based artist Jahnne Pasco-White make the space vibrant with the right dose of luxury. ‘With a focus on calm, sophisticated detailing, while retaining a lighthearted approachability and a playful toughness, this project is characteristic of our style,’ says Flack.

Text / Karine Monié
Images / Sharyn Cairns

WD House

A New Delhi eatery draws inspiration from early modern India for its decor

India’s little-known Modernist movement is very much on display in drawing rooms and government offices across the subcontinent. Austere, pale and studded with simple, angular furniture largely fashioned from rich-grained Burmese teak, it’s a look that is simultaneously evocative and stuffy — though a far cry from the Dubai-influenced fashion for opulence in demand today — and one increasingly finding favour among a younger generation of Indian designers today. In an upmarket New Delhi suburb, the newly opened W.D. House is just one standout example that draws heavily on the aesthetic.

The restaurant, like the design movement, has its roots in the city of Chandigarh — the Le Corbusier-masterplanned city a few hours’ north of the capital. Architecture firm Studio Organon initially conceptualised the restaurant design for a Chandigarh project, but the client was cautious. A few years on, however, when the owners wanted to open a venture in Delhi, the plan was revisited.

‘We found this dilapidated building in Greater Kailash and tried to give it new life,’ recalls Saurabh Dakshini, principal architect at Studio Organon. ‘Incidentally, there were already a few elements like the white marble floor and green marble cladding on the lift shaft that became the starting points.’ Drawing inspiration from local markets, Delhi’s bureaucratic buildings and public sector factories, Daksini’s team devised their own interpretation of the era.

‘The metal louvres on the facade and the brick jalidetail were essential and give character to the building,’ says Dakshini. ‘Then there are the colours — the smoke gray and clotted cream — which can be found extensively in the bureaucratic buildings throughout India.’

Importantly, they didn’t want the design to have the stamp of any particular architect, but rather, to speak to the era as a whole. It’s impossible to overlook, however, the use of Jeanneret chairs throughout, which have become synonymous with Chandigarh. Originally designed as an ‘everyman’ chair for Indian bureaucracy, the iconic design swiftly became part of the average north Indian household of the era, while also used extensively by the major  universities. Disregarded for decades, the chairs have come into their own today and can fetch upwards of US$40,000.

‘When the restaurant was ready, people who had initially been sceptical understood it,’ says Dakshini. ‘They recognised this aesthetic as part of India’s recent history and could relate to it.’

TextAarti Betigeri

Masque

An oasis of fine dining and fine taste in Mumbai

Parsons-trained, Mumbai-based architect and designer Ashiesh Shah is a rapidly rising star in the Indian design community. His portfolio of Instagram-worthy design projects — mostly high-end residential with a few restaurants thrown in for good measure — has not gone unnoticed, earning the designer a long list of accolades and awards. Situated in a former warehouse in Mumbai’s once bustling textile districts is one of Shah’s more recent projects, Masque restaurant. Championing what executive chef Prateek Sadhu calls ‘wilderness-to-table’ fare, Masque aims to bring the magic of the Himalayas to the people via inspired, modern cuisine.

Visual references as to the ingredients origins have been mostly restricted to the table however, with only a subtle hint of the chef’s philosophy on display through the largely natural material palette. The clever play of textures, from raw to polished, is naturally illuminated by skylights that punctuate the ceiling overhead. A large site-specific sculptural installation by Kolkata-based artist Rathin Barman breaks up the expansive space that is as luxe as it is minimal, while also acting as a divider, creating a series of smaller, more intimate spaces.

The combination of food and decor make Masque an establishment that would not feel out of place in the most cosmopolitan of world capitals, adeptly putting Shah’s work on the world stage.

Text / Suzy Annetta

Nha Trang

A bit of Indochina charm in Hong Kong

A MTR shopping mall on Hong Kong’s urban fringe is the unexpected location of a new destination eatery that transports diners to the scuttling back laneways of yesteryear Hanoi. Nha Trang Vietnamese Canteen offers a fresh update on Vietnamese street food in a contemporary environment designed by up-and-coming local studio JJA / Bespoke Architecture and led by JJ Acuna. Ever the optimist, Acuna immediately drew a parallel between the shopping mall location and the bustling street scenes of Hanoi. ‘It reminded me of these Indochine-style colonial structures, set within smaller-laned streets that still litter Hanoi’s urban fabric.' To give form to his vision, Acuna developed a design inspired by the environment of Vietnam's domestic shophouses. A timber ceiling design reflects the typical grid layout of residential homes in the region while adding warmth, and at the entrance, space was set aside to act as a forecourt. ‘The courtyard space frames the restaurant interiors, while creating a buffer between the restaurant as home and the mall’s atrium as a busy Hanoi street,’ explains the designer.

Set back from the ‘street’, Nha Trang’s welcoming facade is fronted by spiky plants in terracotta pots and a striking neon sign in Vietnamese script with its characteristic flourishes, announcing menu delights. Just inside, a cheerful courtyard trimmed in seafoam green walls and yellow-patterned tile flooring allows diners a sort-of al fresco experience thanks to an opaque glass surround that floods the space with natural light. Entering the heart of the ‘home’, the underfoot changes to terrazzo, signaling a shift in formality.

Inside, beamish brass lighting elements add a level of intimacy to the main dining area, which still manages to channel the cheery welcome of a colonial-era Indochina shophouse canteen. ‘I wanted to reflect on the state of current Vietnamese architecture that dates from a time a before communism or modernism took hold,’ says Acuna. ‘Today, they are guest houses and casual restaurants for the most part on the ground floor but have been updated for better or worse throughout the twentieth century with pastiche materials that look “western”.’ To replicate these layers of history one might encounter in Hanoi eateries today, Acuna paired striking tile designs by India Mahdavi with distressed wall finishes, where one might imagine layer after layer of propaganda posters have papered the walls over the decades.

‘I love the final effect,’ says Acuna. ‘It looks like a Vietnamese street food restaurant, but the references are so abstracted that it stands on its own in today’s day — not a Disneyified version of what it could have been.’

Text / Jessica Vahrenkamp
Images / Adam Kuehl

La Rambla by Catalunya

Chanelling the spirit of Barcelona's grand boulevard in the heart of Hong Kong

Malibu meets Barcelona meets Soho House. That’s how co-founder Kevin Poon describes his latest venture, La Rambla by Catalunya — a Spanish restaurant located in Hong Kong’s IFC skyscraper offering an updated take on regional Catalan fare. The setting includes an expansive landscaped terrace dotted with Kettal loungers by Patricia Urquiola and sweeping views across Victoria Harbour. Then, without announcement, the space seamlessly transitions into a bright and airy interior comedor, fringed in green-velvet booths, rattan-backed chairs and a lively atmosphere. That the interiors are able to channel a bit of the energy of Barcelona's La Rambla — the grand pedestrian thoroughfare cutting through the heart of the Catalan capital — in the midst of one of Asia’s most pulsating cities is the genius of Poon’s close collaborator and rising interiors star, Stanley Kwok. While La Rambla by Catalunya represents Kwok’s first independent restaurant design, don’t be fooled — a veteran hospitality designer with more than 15 years’ experience working with clientele among whom rank hoteliers such as Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La, Kwok was ready for the challenge. ‘We are up and coming, so we like to work with other up and coming talent,’ says Poon of the collaboration, which he says worked wonderfully thanks to ‘great creative chemistry’.

Headlining the space is an art piece by Barcelonan Javier Calleja. ‘We wanted to make the space a little bit more cheerful, not so serious,’ explains Poon. Across the way, a bit of greenery expresses itself in the form of a tree, sprouting as if naturally from an interior planter hoisted between curved-edge booths. Throughout the space, Kwok has injected handmade, tactile details for a material-rich palette; terrazzo flooring with inlaid brass strips and mother-of-pearl shells punctuate the underfoot, while pops of dusky rose and marigold yellow combine with an interior skylight to bring Barcelona's sun-soaked, Mediterranean atmosphere to Asia Pacific. After sunset, the restaurant takes on an intimate glow, thanks to custom lighting by another up-and-coming local creative: Eugenia Cheng.

Headed by Chef Ferran Tadeo who first learned to sharpen his knives in the legendary galleys of El Bulli, the kitchen features classic and updated Catalan fare and has already proven popular among Hong Kong’s Spanish population, which pleases Poon. ‘La Rambla had such a magical energy when I visited that street. I got inspired and just wanted to bring a little piece of that back to Hong Kong.’

Text / Jessica Vahrenkamp
Images / Edmon Leong

Mei Ume Restaurant

Internationally acclaimed, Hong Kong-based design firm AB Concept recently completed its first London project, Mei Ume Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel on London’s Ten Trinity Square.

Internationally acclaimed, Hong Kong-based design firm AB Concept recently completed its first London project, Mei Ume Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel on London’s Ten Trinity Square. The restaurant, located in the 1922 headquarters of the Port of London Authority, features a balance of Eastern and Western design styles, though its name is firmly Eastern, deriving from the Chinese and Japanese words for plum blossom. In addition to the fusion of cultural designs, the firm incorporated into the narrative as much of the building’s rich history as possible. Originally built for traders from the East, the building gave the team an opportunity to ‘keep its legacy alive’ but to ‘reinvent it with new spirit and purpose’, said AB Concept co-founder Ed Ng.

On entering the restaurant, guests will immediately notice the colourful plum blossoms painted on a glass screen at the reception. The strategically placed screen works to invite guests to notice the other restaurant decor, from the main dining room’s bold red accents to the metal motifs constructed on the original 1922 columns. One can’t help but feel transported by the unique blend of Orient and Occident, which continues throughout the restaurant, bar and private dining space. Fittingly, the kitchen, run by chef Tony Truong, will feature authentic dishes from China and Japan accompanied by a contemporary cocktail menu inspired by the four key elements of Chinese astronomy.

Text / Kristy Kong

Tate Dining Room

Named Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2015, Vicky Lau of Tate Dining Room and Bar in Hong Kong draws on both a background in graphic design as well as a belief in serendipity for the inspiration behind many of her award-winning dishes.