Linehouse has accomplished a modern day dim sum cafe in Hong Kong that takes its cue within the lifetime of a cross-cultural pioneer, but also references a retro, Chinese canteen in east London.
Built by Shanghai and Hong Kong-centered architecture and structure studio Linehouse, the restaurant is named just after John Anthony, the very first Chinese-born man to generally be naturalised as being a British citizen, in 1805.
Anthony worked for the East India Company at Limehouse in London’s east end, where his job was to provide food and lodging to arriving Chinese sailors.
“The design drew on John Anthony’s journey, Discovering the fusion of architectural designs and materiality amongst east and west together with colonial architecture blurred with jap detailing, to create a British tea hall turned Chinese canteen,” claimed Linehouse co-founder Alex Mok.
Throughout the restaurant, Linehouse explored the materials Anthony himself would have encountered on his journey: hand-glazed tiles, natural and racked renders, terracotta, hand-dyed fabrics and hand-woven wickers.
John Anthony guests enter down a staircase made from white metallic and again-lit with subtle glass. The doorway provides a trace of the interior’s lime environmentally friendly terrazzo flooring and triple-height arched ceiling, clad in pink tiles. The pink arches are mirrored with the space in substantial-amount mirrors.
The main dining hall aims to reinterpret the storehouses of London’s docklands with a vaulted ceiling. The floors of this main hall are paved with reclaimed terracotta tiles from abandoned houses in rural China.
The fusion of Chinese canteen and colonial style and design is captured in the main points from the timber bar with glass vitrines, wicker furniture, and gold and maroon floral fabrics.
A collection of glass tubes containing gins infused with botanicals found along the spice routes hang above the bar. In the wall above the bar, arch-shaped enclaves display an expansive gin collection.
A white metal framework, harking back to an industrial storehouse roof, hangs from your render ceiling with suspended custom made timber tube lamps. Inside the eating location, hammered copper lights line the partitions.
Related story Sarah Ward references 1920s Shanghai at Two Penny Chinese
Beyond the main corridor, a number of arched Areas make it possible for for more personal dining. The arches are clad in handmade inexperienced and blue tiles and body sights of the kitchen area. Turquoise curtains could be drawn to create privateness from the principle restaurant places.
A very personal dining space at the back of the cafe features tiles hand-printed with large scale illustrations of commodities traded amongst the British and Chinese during the eighteenth century, which include medicinal poppies and unique animals.
“We had a local artist hand-paint these illustrations, which were then scanned and printed onto tiles by local suppliers. Every tile was different so it was a labour of love to have the final wall installed,” Mok told Dezeen.
Guiding the bar a room features floral booths divided by product linen curtains hanging from a copper rail. Hand-dyed indigo linen hangs in the ceiling to invoke nautical existence.
Custom copper mounted vanities are fitted above the basins and recycled plastic tubes line the ceiling of the bathroom stalls. Circular windows in the bathroom doors also reference the ships of the East India Company.
And also this east-meets-west style and design fusion, the interior plan was guided by sustainability, which is also mirrored during the food stuff and beverages served with the cafe. Menus and coasters are made of up-cycled paper and plastic, the floor tiles are reclaimed and resources are sustainably sourced.
“All the lighting for this project was custom designed in-house, working with local craftsmen,” said Mok. “Most of the furniture was also custom-designed; the dining chair, all the tables, the rattan sofa are all locally produced.”
In Calgary, Canada, this dim sum restaurant and basement cocktail bar Two Penny Chinese by Canadian studio Sarah Ward Interiors seemed to China’s art-deco period for colors and motifs that may invoke 1920s Shanghai.
Images is by Jonathan Leijonhufvud.