Chinese Restaurant

Montville, Connecticut USA

Creating a new Chinese-American experience: traditional Chinese framing devices, colors schemes, and crafts were reinterpreted and repurposed to update a dark and dated Polynesian-Chinese themed interior into a bright and contemporary dining experience.

Traditional screen motifs are arranged in seemingly random compositions, with subtle patterns emerging upon closer examination. The subdued, richer reds and blacks reference traditional lacquerware and complement the off-white walls, which in turn highlight the existing gold decorations. Angled motifs reference traditional paper-folding crafts and create new spatial readings, whether by announcing a threshold, synthesizing the furniture with the architecture, or ordering misaligned elements from past renovations and additions.

Custom furniture, module flooring, and LED lighting were designed and selected for durability and easy maintenance, as well as long term cost savings.

Angular folded motifs that merge wall, ceiling, and furniture announce a new threshold in the entry hall 

Glass slides from the old dining room lanterns are repurposed to create a grid of frames and a curved motif that references the dining room dragons 

Glass slides are rehung at eye level to enable people to view their details once far removed 

Economical 4" X 24" ebony wood ceramic tile flooring are combined to create 4" X 48" units that transition from negative space to positive space 

Economical 4" X 24" cherry wood ceramic tile flooring are combined to create 4" X 48" units that transition from positive space to negative space 

Combined, the two-colored tile flooring gradually reverses positive/negative space relationships as one walks through the entry hall 

Custom designed banquette provides additional storage. Formally and structurally balancing heavy and light elements, the former stabilizes the latter. Consistent with the folding motif, the floor tiling wraps along the wall to spatialize surfaces 

Sliding planes minimize the banquette's perceived thickness on one end. On the other end, the sliding mass creates areas for takeout menu storage 

Angular folded motifs create a ribbon effect that merges ceiling, wall, and furniture 

Historic aerial photos of the restaurant site ground the restaurant as a local institution and reference the abstract formal qualities of traditional Chinese ink landscapes 

Angular shelving in elevation and plan also create angular shadows 

An exploded chandelier: LED lanterns reference traditional Chinese paper lanterns. A new field of lights unifies the central dining space and allows for the free placement of the tables and chairs. The addition of 50+ new LED lights brightens the space while only using 1/3 of the previous total lighting energy.  

The exploded chandelier conforms to a doubly curved surface. The silver and bronze lanterns create different patterns (single colored/alternating colored) depending on one's perspective 

Multiple alignments and patterns emerge from the implied assymetrically curved surface 

Custom booths create a streamlined appearance while reducing the perception of its bulk 

The high relief and black stain of the booth edges create shadow effects to further reduce the booth's bulk 

The different wood stains differentiate the frames from afar; the maple and oak wood grains differentiate the frames upclose 

New color scheme integrates the new flooring, custom furniture, and walls 

Custom designed trellis references traditional Chinese screens but with a seemingly random, contemporary language 

The trellis depth creates patterns of light and shadow to emerge 

"Pre-existing Condition" 

"Pre-existing Condition"