Hangzhou, China – On first impressions, it appears that the design of two new restaurants in Guangzhou by native studio Infinity Mind could not exist further apart. The first, a Sichuan hot pot restaurant that we covered last year, is a bright, almost holographic spatial revival of the hot pot culinary genre. The more recent – another Sichaun dining space – is a dimly-lit, earth-toned space built from reclaimed construction material. But a conceptual connection does exist between the two projects. In both locations, Infinity Mind’s design process was centred on finding a balance between traditional culture and contemporary aesthetics.
This is a recurrent theme in Chinese hospitality projects of the late. Through the design of a café in Zhengzhou, Moc Design Office sought to revive the younger generation’s interest in tea culture and calligraphy through a compellingly millennial-friendly space. Thirteen hours away, Beijing Wuxiang Space Architecture Design Studio animated a wellness-driven hotel – the world’s first ‘tea culture’ hospitality experience – by taking reference from the region’s centuries-long heritage in the industry. The more Western influence the country is exposed to, the more essential it seems that design help reignite the veneration for national customs.
Chuan’s Kitchen II reflects an eagerness to fortify pride in Chinese heritage through spatial design
Chuan’s Kitchen II reflects a similar eagerness to fortify pride in Chinese heritage through spatial design. Yingjing County is a region that’s been renowned for its black pottery-work for nearly 2000 years. To explore the design application of a typical manufacturing element from the practice, the studio used earthenware gaskets [a sealing device used to separate coal and greenware in the kiln] as the primary source of decoration. Made from the same material – white clay and anthracite – as finished products like utensils and cooking pots, the functional gaskets typically get discarded after seven or so firing processes. Infinity Mind saw a new potential for their use.