The stern sensibility of the immaculately renovated exterior of the luxury restaurant belies the wondrous playfulness of the interiors but the designers have artfully incorporated a few hints inside. Angled brass slats elegantly framing the glazed arches provide shading from the midday sun but also bestow upon the brick facades as the sense of understated opulence. Likewise, the swirling, teapot-like structure that fronts the outdoor tea bar adds a dash of flair to the sedate pedestrian area while at night it becomes a dazzling beacon of light.
In the main dining area, guests are seated below a sublime canopy made out of 35,000 meters of gold chains that form a series of undulating planes and the disembodied landscape is an allusion to the scenic topography of endless rolling hills where tea is cultivated.
Varying in hue from gold to bronze to copper, the organic shapes create an ethereal grotto enhanced by the strategically placed mirror behind the banquet seating, which also gives a sense of spaciousness to the otherwise narrow space and the wavy line of illuminated brass orbs by the designer Lee Broom.
The semi-transparency of the chain-curtains not only offer guests a sense of privacy but also conceals light fittings, sprinklers, ducts and other equipment as well as camouflages a structural pillar that stands inconveniently in the middle of the space, while their quivering tactility invite guests to touch them.
Meanwhile, the golden fantasia conjured by the suspended chain-curtains is complemented by thebrass details of the dining chairs, modern dining tablesand other exclusive furniture, while the grey terrazzo flooring, the muted hues of the upholstery and the matte black cabinetry provide a much needed visual respite without subtracting from the venue’s overall muted luxuriance.
The result is a unique restaurant of effortless sophistication that evocatively conjures in the middle of Shanghai the rural beauty of the Chinese countryside.