Sò Studio, the Shanghai-based studio founded by Jessica Wu and Mengjie Liu in 2016, designed a restaurant in a detached villa on West Jianguo Road, an area that once belonged to the French Concession and still remains an important preservation area for European culture in China, a small oasis protected from the chaos of the metropolis.
“There is no plan. The beauty of the accident” is the studio's motto. But nothing in this project is an "accident": from the materials to the textures, from the colors to the shapes, everything is studied in detail to best evoke the ethos of the place – a space dedicated to the tea ritual and a modern Karensansui (the Japanese dry garden, ed.).
Lunar, a restaurant serving contemporary Chinese cuisine, is spread over two floors. Matte tones and soft colors alternate at the entrance, where a monolithic reception plays with volumes: elliptical shapes and simple geometries flank each other, creating a balanced environment. This is also where the lounge area is located, a small alcove with Danish furnishings by MatzForm: a room dedicated to the tea ritual that provides a multi-sensory experience. The bricks created with pressed tea leaves and embedded in the terrazzo walls, together with marble, wood and the soft textures of the bamboo curtains, are a perfect fusion of Scandinavian design and traditional Chinese gardens.
The attention to detail emerges especially on the second floor, in the dining room. Here, layers of transparency and opaque tones reveal the studio's intent to create a zen-like atmosphere. A trickle of water carved into the floor and a semi-transparent partition separate the communal dining room from the private one. The few rough rocks arranged in the rooms reflect the organic essence of the place. At the tables, ceiling lamps recall Chinese paper lanterns, while hand-painted wood panels in orange hues evoke the pallor of a moonlit night.
The collaboration with florist and designer Maggie Mao ensures that even the few decorative elements evoke calm and tranquility: small vases with a single stem inside are a clear reference to the art of ikebana.
- Lunar: Back to Nature
- Sò Studio
- 260 sqm
- West Jianguo Road, Shanghai 222
- Wanderlust Restaurant Management
- Herman Miller
- Artistic Varnish:
- Flower Design:
- Maggie Mao