Hong Kong architecture studio Cheng Chung Design has created a restaurant and exhibition space within the cavernous interiors of a brick art installation in Mile City, China.
The restaurant, named 50% Cloud Artists Lounge, occupies one of several distinctive structures in Dongfengyun Town that evoke a giant cluster of termite mounds.
Cheng Chung Design’s (CCD) interior is deliberately pared-back to retain focus on this unusual building, while also forming a backdrop to the artwork that is exhibited throughout it.
“It was to be not only a restaurant but also an art space with an exhibition area,” said CCD’s founder, Joe Cheng.
“It aims to serve as an exhibition hall for various cultures and arts, providing a space for the public to get close to and enjoy art,” he told Dezeen. “You can see original art throughout the entire space.”
The brick structure within which the restaurant is located was created by local artist Luo Xu and made without any steel reinforcements or nails.
The interiors of the other buildings in the cluster, also designed by CCD, have been transformed into a multi-functional hall, an art gallery and a hotel.
CCD marked the entrance to the restaurant by a trail of curving steps that lead to an arched door and a series of curving steel panels.
This is modelled on the nearby Honghe Hani Rice Terraces – a system of historic terraces used to grow rice – and designed to add an “artistic touch” that is complementary to the colours and sinuous form of the building.
Inside, the layout of the restaurant’s bar, chairs and tables responds to the curves of the structure and the positions of round openings carved into its roof.
As the walls of the building could not be decorated, this is intended to draw visitors’ attention to the light that filters in through the skylights and onto the bricks and creates patterns throughout the course of the day.
“Light is an essential element in the space,” said CCD. “Guests can experience the change of light in every minute.”
“All design elements are arranged based on light and under skylights. Natural light tells the passage of time throughout the day, and creates diversified spatial experiences,” the studio added.
Furniture is kept simple throughout, with cool colours and curved bodies that complement the form of the building.
These are teamed with large woven lampshades that softly light the room, alongside art-deco style partitions that were used to loosely divide the space.
The artwork throughout the restaurant ranges from bespoke furniture to larger sculptures designed by CCD and produced by an artist called Qi Songtao.
This includes an abstract, cloud-like piece and a metallic, woven artwork that mimics a human head.
Elsewhere in China, Studio Zhu-Pei also created a series of sweeping, red-brick structures to house the Jingdezhen Imperial Kiln Museum.
Located in the city of Jingdezhen, the museum’s cavernous buildings are all unique in size and are designed to recall the forms of traditional brick kilns.