Walnut columns and blackened wooden walls are reminiscent of the architecture of the golden age of China in this atmospheric restaurant in Shantou owned by the local interior design studio JG Phoenix.
The place founded by three friends is called Sui Han San You or Three Friends of Winter, according to a Chinese proverb that refers to pine, bamboo and plum blossoms.
The dimly lit, 1,200-square-meter restaurant was designed around this motif, which is often used in traditional art to symbolize resilience due to the plants’ ability to thrive in the colder months.
Wood is generously distributed throughout the room and forms slatted walls, screens and furniture that are reminiscent of the architecture of the Tang Dynasty – a time at the end of the first millennium that is considered to be the golden era for Chinese art and culture.
“Tang dynasty architecture was characterized by the perfect integration of strength and beauty and a balance between austerity and splendor,” said JG Phoenix.
“Such features were incorporated into the design of passageways in which walnut columns were neatly arranged on the sides and connected to the ceiling.”
The dark wood is combined with “sober materials” such as light gray stone bricks and brass to create a balance in the room.
Guests enter the restaurant through a sloping corridor with a pool of water that runs along its length and leads to the reception.
This is supposed to be reminiscent of a traditional Chinese garden and create “a feeling of ritual and mystery”.
A walnut pillar protrudes from the water and extends through a geometric reception counter to the ceiling. Large wooden umbrellas surround the room and separate the entrance, lobby and stairwell.
A Tang-style desk and bookcase make up the lobby, while a suspended wooden ceiling helps create a more intimate space.
The VIP rooms have walnut columns with brass cladding and walls with walnut paneling, light gray stone bricks, and floor to ceiling murals.
“Such designs create a calm, peaceful, and upscale dining atmosphere that accurately interprets the essence of Tang style,” explained JG Phoenix.
The studio, founded in 2008, has implemented various other projects in Shantou, including a color exhibition room shaped by the old concept of yin and yang and a fish bubble museum with shiny floors, rough-sawn wood and diffuse daylight.