Will Speros • March 7, 2018
Photography by Dennis Lo and Nirut Benjabanpot

Outfitted to service the bustling lunch crowds of central Hong Kong, the fast causal Kasa is nestled inside an intimate storefront whose spirit expands beyond its narrow walls and petite frame. Influenced by the principles of cha chaan teng—a type of tea restaurant typically found in Hong Kong—Kasa, crafted by New York- and locally based architectural design practice Lim + Lu, is an homage to its home city and deeply rooted in Hong Kong culture where nods to wet markets and city’s neon lights comprise the industrial, East-meets-West design.

The starts at the entrance. Collapsible folding doors open the eatery directly to passersby as an extension of the buzzing Wellington Street. “One is met with what seems to be another building façade where the upper level windows allow voyeurism from above, blurring the lines between interior and exterior,” says the firm’s cofounder and managing director Elaine Lu.

The design echoes the culinary fusion found on the menu by implementing contrasting materials and design elements that juxtapose traditional Chinese elements with Western dining room motifs. Neon LED lights spell “healthy eating” in Chinese over the kitchen, while custom booth seating reinterprets the vernacular of Hong Kong diner booths with a contemporary spin. Chairs complement the green and pink color palette expressed via pervasive tiling. “We began with the typical cha chaan teng tiles, which came in selected colors only. As a result, the color palette for the restaurant was derived through the tiles—green and pink,” Lu explains. “The colors help reinforce the ideas of freshness and youth.”

In addition to mirrors and neon lighting, a graffiti mural from local artist collective HK Walls adorns the restaurant and stairwell, channeling the vibrant cityscape. Pendant lights recall their usage in Hong Kong’s many wet markets, which “are a big part of the culture and are the epitome of what it means to be fresh—daily catches and freshly picked greens are on display everyday,” Lu says. “The lights are a subtle detail, but one that we hope will trigger one to recollect the familiar.”