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The Province

Jennifer Young • Photography by Jeff Dow Photography • May 23, 2018

Photos: The Province

For chef Chris Yeo’s Asian fusion restaurant the Province in San Jose, California, Charles Doell, founder of Oakland, California-based Mister Important Design, sought to create something trendy and inviting, but also fluid enough to host parties and DJs. To capture that desired ambiance, he chose a sumptuous palette of dark woods and rich leathers alongside saturated red tones, including crimson and burgundy with golden accents—symbols of happiness and fortune in some Asian cultures.

Industrial roll-up doors with red-stained glass create dramatic private dining areas for what Doell calls “public privacy,” or an area that “provides enough privacy for VIP use but does not sever the visual connection to the restaurant at large,” he explains. A sensual abstract floral pattern handpainted by artist Jet Martinez lines the walls, complementing ornate wooden screens, a nod to traditional Asian paper screens. Martinez’s use of  “tone on tone with the addition of metallic gold creates a beautiful backdrop for diners,” says Doell, and it was his affinity for chrysanthemum-like shapes that attracted the owners to his work. Pairing with the sultry design are dramatic chandeliers drawing attention to the space’s high ceilings, which are outlined in paneled mirrors creating an enchanting, limitless quality.

The bar is a lesson in contrasts with mixed teal-colored tiles randomly arranged in moon shapes at 90 degrees to evoke an industrial take on “a fishing boat floating in a sea,” he says, while lantern lighting suspended from coarse ropes adds to the vessel-like feel. To complete the restaurant, three-quarter circular banquettes in crimson outfit the central dining zone, while cognac-colored leather banquettes with buckles and modern pendants are found in the outside spaces.

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