In Shenzhen, China, CCD has completed a restaurant with some eclectic design choices and essential Chinese hospitality touches.
October 20th, 2023
Sitting at the strange crossroads of Zen deliberation and an English men’s club, there is an intangible quality to CCD’s Le Jardin that speaks to the new age of Chinese hospitality.
Quoting from Zhou Guoping – “Cherishing creates destiny, and destiny lies in cherishing” – the designers have ostensibly taken the ‘build it and they will come’ path, with a Chinese take on international aesthetics to deliver an immersive lifestyle experience.
Entering via a glass-encased courtyard atrium that allows the interestingly arranged bricks of the entrance wall to be seen as it continues into the restaurant, the Floral Pavilion and main restaurant experience of the project are sensationally good. Within the glass case, a new wall of outward facing fine dowel form an undulating pattern than curves to wrap the round central table. Continuous to the kitchen and chef, the room is airy and light with the traditional revolving table reimagined as a sleek contemporary expanse of glowing pale gold.
“In Chinese culture, it is customary for people to gather and dine together. Whether at home or in a restaurant, the act of dining together creates a sense of community and togetherness,” says CCD director, Joe Cheng.
As the rest of Le Jardin unfolds, however, there is a conflict of aesthetics apparent in the voluminous dried and dyed flower installations being paired with contemporary artworks. That said, the car and horse paintings are a good fit with their sleek photorealism adding a glossy layer to the contemporary interiors. The very large painting of the Auston Martin DBZ in the conference room is impressively elegant as is the suite of car detail paintings in the adjacent room.
Conversely, the Land Rover photograph, which comes straight from Land Rover of London’s advertising campaign and seems to be propped on an easel, is both out of scale and out of place in the room. The large red female figure is similarly a surprisingly poor choice and well out of tune with the rest.
The rooms themselves are fabulous, with the Snooker room a bold take on a classic recreation. Here, the large bespoke table sits above a crossed timber pedestal over a rich Persian rug. With a black ceiling and crisp white walls the large industrial pendant of eight black cones anchors the room well. White plantation shutters connect the room to a dining room where the car themed paintings continue and sit well with the suite of room’s mood.
Just along is the cigar room, with a salon hang of males including Che Guevara, Winston Churchill and Nicholas Cage smoking huge cigars – just to let you know you are in the smoking room. “The warm yellow light and soulful jazz music create a relaxing atmosphere. The slightly darker light and the retro color scheme enhance the nostalgic feel of the place, while the mellow cigar adds to the leisurely and enjoyable experience,” says Cheng.
The lounge area with the aforementioned cloud of dried flowers is saved by the very good selection of furniture with aged leather and chrome giving a solid mid-century tone. It is, however, the small tableau that are particularly good. A Milford Zanuso arm chair tucked into a corner with an Aeris hanging cocoon fireplace and potted Ficus lyrate, for example is balanced with subtle texture and tone working beautifully. Another great pairing is Mark Newson’s felt chair (Capellini) with an Artemide Tolomeo mega lamp with pleated shade.
The SIP Wine Cellar is extravagant with a huge contemporary textile artwork in white on black bringing drama to the room. Timber floors, black cabinetry and a set of impressive glass industrial lamps further this sense of drama, as do the wall of back lit wine to one side and objects of art on the other.
“It offers a space for indulging in the poetic and spiritual pleasures of life, surrounded by abundant beauty and romance,” says Cheng.
It is possibly the profusion of candles, compounded by the large artificially coloured flowers (mostly hydrangeas) that lets this project down. Or possibly the two large artworks that don’t equal the high quality and tone of the build. But these are ephemeral elements that can be whisked away to leave what is a delightful suite of rooms designed for Chinese hospitality and the enjoyment of life.
Yan Yu, Qiu Xin
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