Wansum Tongshui Restaurant

XuTai Design and Research Studio gave Wansum Tongshui Restaurant plentiful seating, thoughtful colors, and a nostalgic view from the outside looking in.

  • area / size 1,011 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Shanghai, China,
  • Type Restaurant,
  • In this era when the public focus has moved away from texts to media, we’re presented with complex demands for public space. For physical stores, it is indeed an advantage for them to integrate eye-attracting media to stand against the impact of e-commerce. Meanwhile, as designers, we are also thinking about how to intervene in the present space in a better way.

    In the early summer of July, Hong Kong Wansum Tongshui (a dessert café brand) got in touch and hoped to cooperate with us on one of their new stores located on the first floor of Changning Raffles City in Shanghai Zhongshan Park. Usable space amounts to about 56m2, not including the kitchen area. The client asked for two things: the shop needs to accommodate at least 50 customers in order for profitable operation, according to their data analysis; and the place should give the air of traditional Hongkong dessert cafés.

    In short, we were to design a large number of seats in a relatively small area with a height of 5.5m, which Quite interesting conditions. Our impression of Hong Kong is derived from the tube-shaped apartment buildings in the 80/90s HK movies, packed with crowds of people and specialty shops, a scene mixed with dreamy vitality.

    In terms of the thematical concept, the concepts of ‘apartment’ and ‘alleyway’ are transplanted into the shop to symbolize the space for dinning and walking. For more spatial lightness, fluorescent acrylic planes are used to distinguish the inside from the outside. In the café, two-layered corrugated glazing and metal mesh are used to create a sense of ambiguity.

    Neil Postman once mentioned the idea that ‘The medium is the metaphor’. We chose red, green and yellow as the theme colours to restore the sense of urbanity of Hong Kong. The combination of the three tones, mosaics, recycled boards, leather and metal materials is intended to express Hong Kong’s unique atmosphere, bringing together the past and the present, rather than blatant nostalgia. The seats come in 4 a table to allow for different scenarios, totaling 52.

    While desserts evoke people’s memory through taste buds, space creates a special atmosphere through the organization of light and dark, roughness and delicacy, brightness and low saturated hues, clarity and haziness, extracting the common memory from people’s heart and reproducing the fluttering moments with reorganization.

    People passing by in the illuminated space are like the captured images in the movies, complete with blurred details to evoke your memories, resonating the memories of this era.

    Design: XuTai Design and Research Studio
    Design Team: Yang Tianbao, Wang Pengyi, Diamond, Ye Xiaotong, Luo Jingqian, Sun Zhiwei, Zheng Qiaowen
    Photographer: Xiaoyun