Table Hopping 2018November 12, 2018
Icha Chateau, Shanghai
Firm: Spacemen Studio
Housed in a 19th-century colonial building, Icha Chateau is locally based Spacemen Studio’s “take on the traditional teahouse, which turned into an abstract interpretation of nature,” explains firm director Edward Tan. “We found inspiration in the rolling hills of the brand’s very own tea plantations to create this sculptural space.” Upon entering, patrons are welcomed by nearly 115,000 feet of chains that shape the interior of the restaurant. Fashioned with gold, copper, and bronze-colored metals, the layers replicate the mountainous tea fields and also carve out intimate seating areas. A gray mirror reflects the wave-like chains, which practically drip onto the slate terrazzo floors and muted upholstered seating, creating “this dream-like, undulating design language,” says Tan.
Coffeebar, Menlo Park, California
Firms: Walker Warner Architects and NICOLEHOLLIS
Menlo Park’s Coffeebar brings the taste of Italy to Silicon Valley. In collaboration with founder Greg Buchheister and Walker Warner Architects, San Francisco-based designer Nicole Hollis transformed a former nail salon and market into a modern space “inspired by the coffee bars of Europe, but with a funky twist,” she says. A simple and straightforward palette of black and gray is warmed up by wood-paneled walls, caramel-colored leather banquettes, and copper accents. Terrazzo countertops are a nod to Italy, while sleek metal chairs and stools add a streamlined look. Bright turquoise butterfly joints accent a live-edge walnut communal table—the centerpiece of the café—while a bicycle chain chandelier steals the show at the wine bar. Enamel bike paint, rivet detailing, and metal chain curtains, which Hollis calls “industrial and poetic,” playfully reference the tech community’s popular cycling culture.
Zeitz MOCAA Café, Cape Town
Between the sweeping views of Cape Town and the dynamic triangulated windows, there’s no shortage of eye candy at Zeitz MOCAA Café. Housed inside the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in South Africa, the minimalist eatery lets the Thomas Heatherwick-designed building and the surrounding landscape do all the talking. “We didn’t want to overshadow the beauty of the architecture and the natural beauty of Cape Town,” says Keith Mehner, managing director of local architecture and design firm K/M2K. Using materials like polished concrete, black steel, and gray marble, the restaurant takes on the tonal color palette and industrialist aesthetic of the former grain silo where it is housed. Exposed columns and tubular metal chandeliers accentuate the lofty space, while wood chairs and light gray upholstery add warmth. At dusk, the charcoal walls and floors virtually disappear, allowing guests to fully take in the views.
London firm Sybarite brings Eastern influences to its home city with Japanese restaurant Yen. Inspired by bamboo forests, a suspended timber lattice produces a canopy effect and minimizes the lofty ceilings. The lower level sushi bar is made from yellow cedar timber, a popular material for housing structures and shoji screens in Japan, while on the mezzanine level, perforated maple window screens maintain privacy for customers without obstructing views of the restaurant. In flipping the floorplan and moving the staircase to the back, Sybarite cofounder Simon Mitchell carved out space for the larger private dining room, wine display room, and bar. The striking staircase, he explains, “appears as a full timber cantilevered monocoque construction; however, cleverly concealed steel engineering creates a robust structure.”
Firm: Andrés Jaque Architects
For the street-level Ròmola, housed inside the former garage of a Gutierrez Soto building that dates back to 1946, Madrid-based architect Andrés Jaque created a decadent experience that stands out against its more austere neighbors. Anchoring the bakery, café, and restaurant is a boldly veined “super marble” that can withstand compression and traction. Jaque used the material for the floors and tabletops, and cut it into triangular shapes for the walls and ceiling to create a luxe tent-like structure from which plants seductively cascade. Green shows up again in the gold-framed velvet and leather seating with sleek, curved silhouettes that juxtapose the sharp lines of the marble. For an added layer, a circular pendant mimics the round tables beneath, creating an ethereal halo effect.
Di An Di, Brooklyn
Designers: Huy Bui and Tuan Bui
Di An Di, the second collaboration for Brooklyn-based designers and brothers Huy and Tuan Bui, “transports us to the spirit of Dalat, a countryside north of Ho Chi Minh City where city dwellers take refuge in the rolling hills and lush landscapes,” Tuan explains of the new Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. The pair “relied on our community to design and build the restaurant,” from the ombré wallpaper to the custom brass lighting. The simple, bright design, filled with copious plant life, includes a continuous 100-foot-long banquette that threads throughout the space, with pale pink and sage green seatbacks that pop against whitewashed brick walls and various wood tones. A more intimate bar space boasts deeper shades of green where exposed copper pipes form shelving and frame light fixtures.
The Lampery, London
London is home to several famous palm courts, but none quite like the Lampery’s. Housed inside the Apex City of London Hotel, the restaurant’s front terrace offers a contemporary take on the traditional garden atrium and is undoubtedly the project’s standout (and surefire Instagram hit). The two-story space is enclosed by glazed glass and capped by an artificial canopy of flowers and leaves that were handcrafted on site. “It gives the place a magical air as evening descends,” says Emily Franks, head of interior design at Edinburgh firm ISA. A complementary emerald green and chartreuse palette subtly transforms to petrol blue and teal in the adjacent bar and dining spaces. Greige hexagonal tiles and herringbone wood floors soften the cool color scheme, while tufted leather and velvet seating and low hanging lights create a sultry contrast to the light and bright terrace.
“What started as an idea for a bakery developed into an ambition to build a community around the future of food,” explains Jonathan Hagos, director of London-based Freehaus. During the briefing process with German food company Bahlsen, famous for its biscuits, Hagos discovered the need for something more sophisticated. “We wanted to create an environment where innovators and influencers in the food scene could meet to develop new ideas.” The pared-back interiors are designed to highlight the activities within the coffee shop, coworking area, and events space. Hagos achieved this with a combination of niches and flexible furniture that produce opportunities for collaboration. Plant displays complement pastel colors and light wood, while a 65-foot-long concrete counter winds through the columned space, a reference to the original conveyor belts in Bahlsen’s Hanover factory.
Hono Izakaya, Québec City, Canada
Designer: Charlène Bourgeois
For local designer Charlène Bourgeois’ first restaurant project, Hono Izakaya, she was tasked with creating a modern Japanese tavern with “a festive and friendly atmosphere,” she explains. Housed in a historic Québec City building, the eatery is spread across two levels, with wooden structures dividing the restaurant into different spaces, including two alcoves behind the bar and a long table that sits beneath a pergola. Simple materials, such as white tiles, plywood for built-in furniture, and vintage chairs, dress the space as natural light enters through large street-facing windows. Meanwhile, counters in the bar and kitchen offer diners a view of the chefs preparing their meals. The focal point for Bourgeois, however, was the discovery of a stone wall that had been hidden behind decorative brick. “It offers insight into the history of the building,” she says. “It also is one of the highlights for customers who often take pictures of it.”
Tashas, Abu Dhabi
BASStudio infused the latest Tashas outpost with elements of African heritage, including handmade terracotta tiles brought over from Cape Town. The simple, understated environment “is a departure from the aesthetic we are accustomed to seeing in the UAE,” says Dewald Struwig, creative director of the Sydney firm. Colors were kept to a minimum “to promote the gentle nature and tranquility of the Mediterranean Sea,” while on the patio, a wavy canvas ceiling installation sways in the breeze, mimicking the movement of a boat’s sail. Inside, classic Greek taverna furniture was installed without sealant, allowing the wood “to build character over a period of time and acquire its own individual personality,” he notes.
Nolita Hall, San Diego
A combined inspiration of air travel and European beer halls prompted local architecture firm Tecture to make San Diego’s Nolita Hall “as transparent as possible,” says principal David Michael. A series of skylights provides guests with a prime spot to view passing planes overhead from the nearby airport while also balancing the industrial interior. “The tones of the space are a contrast of heavy and graceful,” adds fellow principal Kyle Preish. A quad-fold vertical door system lines the west façade, while the split-flap menu board behind the horseshoe-shaped slat-wood bar lists incoming flight schedules. “The space has a lot of cool moments, from the shuffleboard courts to the heavy industrial doors,” says principal Slade Fischer. “But the comfort of the interior is what ties it all together.”
Hunan Slurp, New York
Firm: New Practice Studio
A large floor-to-ceiling window invites passersby to glimpse the clean, simple interiors of the 45-seat Hunan Slurp in New York’s East Village neighborhood. Locally based New Practice Studio collaborated closely with chef and artist Chao Wang on the 3,000-square-foot concept. Dramatic curved slats in laminated wood with oak veneer arch over communal tables and cover the walls and ceiling to evoke rice noodles, says partner Sidong Lang, highlighted by backlighting. Further in, an open kitchen and banquette seating combine with white mortar walls, an array of pendants, and circular metal mirrors to balance the “contemporary, minimalist design,” says Lang, where “geographical lines and shapes decorate the interior.”
The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
Firm: Isay Weinfeld
Once host to power lunches for New York’s elite, the Four Seasons Restaurant returns two years after it closed, eyeing those same power players, but this time in a new $30 million location only three blocks from its original home. Led by Brazilian architect and designer Isay Weinfeld, the two-story, 19,000-square-foot space is a celebration of its past while forging a more modern identity. Steeped in glamour, the restaurant bears “the same sense of elegance and refinement [as the original], just in a contemporary way,” Weinfeld says. A dark foyer leads to the luxe Bar Room, topped with a thick gold leaf-flecked glass bar that complements glass bead curtains covering the windows. Terrazzo floors line the dining room, accented by leather banquettes, honey and beige tones, walnut tables, a curved teak wall, and stainless steel columns. Tying the restaurant together is a dramatic ceiling grid lighting installation of brass and acrylic rods that “transcends all my expectations,” says Weinfeld.
Chicha Cafetín, Brooklyn
Firm: C. Wall Architecture
Standing out in Brooklyn’s trendy Bushwick neighborhood is no easy feat, but Cortney Walleston, founder of local firm C. Wall Architecture, was up for the challenge. For Chicha Cafetín, the designer eschewed the ubiquitous industrial, hipster aesthetic of the area for a softer and more vibrant one inspired by owner Vanessa Palazio’s childhood memories of Nicaragua. To transform the warehouse into the airy 60-seat restaurant, Walleston imbued the space with location-specific details like a 20-foot-tall backbar that nods to the white cathedral in Leon and acts as “a stark contrast to the colorful interiors around it.” In addition, the wood-slatted wall behind the custom furniture (nearly all of it made in Nicaragua) mimics the mountainscape on the national flag. A palette of soft blue and cheerful Millennial pink complements floral upholstery and the can’t-miss jungle scene mural on the backwall by local artist W3RC.
Nando’s Beaches, Toronto
Firm: Stoa Design Collective
Located in Toronto’s Beach Village neighborhood, the latest outpost for the international, South Africa-based chain boasts a design that explores “interpretations of traditional African weaving techniques,” says Jennifer Nicevski, cofounder of local firm Stoa Design Collective. The bright, color-blocked scheme evokes a playful vibe, offset by exposed brick, leather-tufted banquettes, and geometric tile floors. Artwork and beaded light fixtures sourced from South Africa are authentic touches, enhanced by an oversized blue and yellow dome pendant—a reference to the pottery of the African Ndebele tribe. “We enjoyed immersing ourselves in South African culture,” adds fellow cofounder Sarah Stafford, “while balancing it with the sensibilities and needs of the tight-knit [local] community.”
For Atmosfire’s playful concept, local firm 4Space was inspired by “traditional grilling techniques from all over the world,” says managing and design director Firas Alsahin.Spanning the double-height interior, the dramatic central brick brazier boasts an open firepit with six different grills, allowing patrons to “feel as if they are as much a part of the action as the chefs,” he says. Plus, “it creates a spectacle for the eyes and a feast for the taste buds.” Terrazzo outfits the floors, walls, tables, and countertops, while a crimson and navy color scheme adds drama. A neon sign that reads “Let There Be Fire” adorns a corten steel wall with embedded linear lighting that cleverly references grill marks, a motif that shows up on the seating as well.
20 Stories, Manchester, UK
Perched on the top floor (19th to be exact) of an office building, 20 Stories’ nature-inspired design belies its location within Manchester’s bustling business and entertaining district. For restaurateur D&D’s latest, designer Nancy J. Ruddy, cofounder of New York firm CetraRuddy, used handcrafted textiles, organic shapes, and natural materials to create “a garden in the sky with a modern and glamorous vocabulary,” she says. A hammered bronze ceiling acts as a forest canopy, creating a shimmering effect and reflecting the purple, blue, and green tones used throughout the 15,250-square-foot space. The central bar, undoubtedly the venue’s showpiece, is a modern interpretation of a grand specimen tree. Guests can sip cocktails under its illuminated bowers or venture outside where two-story tall silver birch trees tower above the rooftop garden. Near the undulating concrete bar on the terrace, a metal sculpture by Jon Bickley depicts a flock of birds that appear to ascend into the city sky.
Couvant, New Orleans
Firm: Stonehill Taylor
While rowdy revelers call the French Quarter home base, nearby on Magazine Street sits the tasteful Eliza Jane hotel, a vintage-inspired property from New York firm Stonehill Taylor that spans seven warehouses. The property’s French brasserie Couvant resides within three of those rehabbed buildings, complete with a sprawling 300-square-foot bar, pristine white oyster bar, private dining room, and interior courtyard. Masculine elements throughout the main dining area unveil more feminine touches, such as light pink and blue fabrics, saddle brown channel-tufted leather banquettes, and sheer drapery, added to soften existing brick walls. Hexagonal tiles “frame the bar in conjunction with the polished concrete flooring,” says designer Marinda Thomas, “a subtle nod to the inset tile on New Orleans sidewalks.”
The Gables, Santa Monica, California
Firm: Mystery Design
The charming eatery from restaurateur Kevin Lazan gets its name from a 1920s Santa Monica beach club, which was set to develop into a high-rise tower but was never completed due to the Great Depression. The design “celebrates the simpler, quintessential Santa Monica beach style—a homey vibe that feels comfortable with upholstered seating and domestic features such as the hanging house plants,” says Dan Einzig, founder of local firm Mystery Design. Splashes of blue balance the bright, airy environment, which dons whitewashed walls, California-inspired artwork, rattan furniture, and crackle-glazed tiles, creating an energy that’s “uplifting while calming, and unpretentious while aspirational; the same feelings we imagine the original Gables Beach Club had back in the ’20s,” he says.
Firm: Sella Concept
Strong geometric moments are enough to make Latin American restaurant Piraña a standout in south London’s buzzy Balham neighborhood. Add to that a retro red and blue color scheme, distinct wood accents, and jade green terrazzo flooring, and the casual restaurant “transcends time and styles,” says Tatjana von Stein, one-half of local firm Sella Concept with Gayle Noonan. The duo injected vintage-inspired elements into the otherwise refined space, starting with the façade, which is framed in red metal and flanked by white and sky-blue mosaic tiles. “Our vibe is quite retro,” says Noonan, “but it has also touched on a form of playfulness and discovery.” In the front room, vertical-padded banquettes mimic the red ribbing covering the bar and the timber slats framing the open kitchen and chef’s table, while arches are peppered throughout. A bar in the back is resplendent in emerald green and crimson, complete with secluded nooks that act as a moody counterpoint to the vibrant entry.