Project Name: EMBER
Practice: Nature Times Art Design
Firm Location: China
Completion year: 2020
Gross Built up Area: 200 sqm
Project Location: Kerry Plaza, Shenzhen
Design Team: Xie Gang
Clients: Shoku-tei Catering Co., Ltd.
Others: Wei Jinjing, Wei Yaocheng, Zhang Huichao (chief designers); YCWORK (Construction firm), Ding Jie (Lighting Consultant); United Design Lab (Graphic Design)
Photo Credits: HereSpaceMore Specs
Excerpt: Ember is a fine dine restaurant designed by Interior design firm Nature Times Art Design Co. Ltd. Based on a deep understanding of the brand’s essence, the design team conceived the restaurant precisely the right way, expecting to convey its modern Eastern spirit that exemplifies its presence in a globalized era.
(“Text as submitted by the Architects”)
Charcoal grille wagyu represents the essence of traditional Japanese cuisine and incorporates aspects of Korean, American, and other cultures’ new styles of modern cuisine. Japanese barbeque (yakiniku) master Kentaro Nakahara perfects his craft in Tokyo. He has created his exclusive menu of omakase yakiniku dishes, praised as the “Hermès of the barbeque world”.
This project is his third restaurant globally that features this special menu. Located in Shenzhen’s central business district, it promotes the values of exquisite cuisine and the master chef’s craftsmanship. Based on a deep understanding of the brand’s essence, the design team conceived the restaurant precisely the right way, expecting to convey its modern Eastern spirit that exemplifies its presence in a globalized era.
The restaurant hides under a skyscraper in the clouds and is concealed within a densely layered glass wall. Its logo pattern is shaped like the character yan, resembling a Japanese family crest, showing a low-profile presence from the storefront’s glass door and echoing the tree shadows. The natural greenery and the urban background of reinforced concrete create a mysterious and futuristic atmosphere.
A black wall connects with the glass curtain wall. It abandons any fancy patterns or textured decorations, only with gold and bronze-coloured logo to remind passers-by of this place’s fine cuisine and the world of yakiniku hidden behind the steel panels.
The interior space differs from the ostentatious and chaotic ambience of most yakiniku restaurants, as it combines Eastern wabi-sabi aesthetic with traditional Japanese tatami rooms. The floor, walls, and tabletops are clad in grey stone materials. The space is decorated with semi-transparent gold screens and roughly-textured steel panels. These complement the wood veneers, fabrics, natural rattan and other warm textures embellishing the restaurant.
The urban fabric of crisscrossing streets and alleys is applied to the restaurant’s spatial layout. Various functional spaces such as booths, bar counters, drink rooms, and private dining rooms are organized to meet customers’ diverse needs. In the meanwhile, the spatial pattern also takes consideration into privacy.
Different functional spaces are decorated with gold foil, metal coatings, fabrics, and wood grain to create varied ambiences. The private dining rooms can be freely opened and closed, recalling small shops along Tokyo’s streets. The ceiling structures of those rooms can be raised and lowered to simulate the sky, which imbues the space with a sense of nature and a dynamic spatial aesthetic.
The warm light reflected by the gold foil beautifully complements the white light reflected off the textured glass, creating a rhythmic match of light and shadows.
The Zen waterscape and bonsai, irregular and unpolished stone sculptures, and minimalistic ink-wash paintings emphasize the experience of an escapist mindset and concealed world. Subtle decorations and art pieces are interspersed with the space-based on composition techniques of separating view, borrowing view and framing a view.
Beside the bar, a counter is a concise yet powerful thick rock slab with a lush pine bonsai placed on it. Objects in the space are touched by light and shadows and carry the traces of time and a sense of warmth, hence endowing the space with a poetic yet lively atmosphere and natural vitality.