Excerpt: SENSE sushi lab, designed by JG PHOENIX, tells its story by reversing the four seasons in the space, where the relationship turns into an energy exchange. As approaching this project, we incorporate “time” as the clue to conceive the space. Outside the windows are silent changes, while the interior space is full of stillness. The boundary between “rationality” and “sensibility” evokes reverie whether inside or outside the space. The really touching thing is not the scenery viewed from the indoor windows but the inseparable relationship between things and nature and what makes people who they are.
[Text as submitted by architect] We boldly conceived a space that “reverses” time.
Four seasons are reversed.
Everything wakes up in the coldest season,
and falls asleep in the warmest season.
Instead of excessively narrating the spatial form, we tell the story by reversing the four seasons in the space, where the relationship between all things and nature turns into an energy exchange. SENSE sushi lab is an emerging restaurant brand specializing in upscale Japanese cuisine. One of its brand concepts is to refine every dish in combination with the food culture of Chaoshan Region. Conceived by JG PHONIEX, this project is the brand’s first restaurant in Shantou.
The project is located in a high-end office building. The higher floors of the building embrace a sweeping view of the cityscape and the undulating mountains across the sea. In this coastal city in Southern China, the four seasons are as brilliant and warm as spring all year round, presenting a picturesque view. As approaching this project, we incorporate “time” as the clue to conceive the space.
Beside the white reef, there is a canoe, which is rowed out to the sea. In Southern China, fog is often compared to snow in winter. It shrouds trees erecting on the mountains across the sea, which looks like the snow covering hills in the Northern Region. Such a white tone evokes unique imagination, like a white eagle falling on a white cliff or a white pigment painted on a white canvas.
The leaf does not regret being blown off by the wind during autumn, as it carries the memory of certain moments. From birth to the end of the life cycle, leaves are “dyed” in gold and are taken to various places by the autumn breeze. The leaves rustle in the wind, giving a feeling of ink spreading on paper.
Seasonal changes are dynamic and intriguing. Spring flowers and autumn fruits, the withering and growth of plants, the gathering and spreading of clouds, and the changing states of the moon, are all aesthetic. Our feeling naturally changes between the dynamic and the still.
Inside the space, the circular ceiling interweaves with a slanting wall. Viewed from different angles, the structures seem to portray a scene in which a watch hand falls out of a silent dial, which blurs the boundary of time and space and seems to indicate the switch to reverse time. Outside the windows are silent changes, while the interior space is full of stillness. The boundary between “rationality” and “sensibility” evokes reverie whether inside or outside the space.
Black handmade textured paint and smooth sintered stone plates set the overall tone of the interior space. With “season” as the core theme, the most representative colors of the four seasons are brought into the restaurant. Chiseled artificially, the stone plates feature delicate textures like weathered traces, carrying the marks of time and natural authenticity.
By day, lotus takes from hot sunshine a new dye; at night, insects chirp in the cool breeze. At dusk one day, time gradually turns into deep red like a watercolor, then transitions to an increasingly intense yellow. From orange to bright yellow, it finally burns into glaring white in a flash until it completely melts into azure and falls into the dark and mysterious black. At this point, a dreamy journey comes to an end. When the insects begin chirping, people will return to reality with a clear mind.
The drizzle gently laps at the moss on stones, which reveals the approach of spring. As the weather gets increasingly warmer, plants begin to turn green, showing a vibrant scene. The revival of all things is dependent upon spring, a divine gift. At this time, life breaks through the soil and begins to grow towards the sky. The really touching thing is not the scenery viewed from the indoor windows but the inseparable relationship between things and nature and what makes people who they are.
Though the four seasons cannot be truly “reversed”, everything has its own circle of life. What has been experienced before enables the limited life to pass on infinite glory. There are always some unshakable beliefs in this changing world, but the seasonal alternation is always in an instant.