Project Name: Charcohol Restaurant & Cocktail Bar

Location: Shanghai, China

Date Completed: November 2019

Architect: Shirley Dong

Interior Designer: Andrea Maira

Construction Company: Shanghai Tuoqi Construction and Decoration Co., Ltd

Stretching across the main entrance, three dining halls conceptualise the transformation of wood to charcoal and finally to ash. The notion of the dining concept is summed up in the small portico at the entrance, where a half-burnt wooden column hangs from the ceiling and ends in a lava stone block on the floor, welcoming the guests. The first hall implements wood flooring and preserves the untouched original walls of the building, while the main hall is converted to total black.

At the end of the space is the third hall, which once again shows some of the original brick wall and is finished with white-grey plastered walls. In the orthogonal direction, one can observe the temperature axis, spanning from the kitchen to the fireplace and projected on the ground through reddish tiles.

Considering that the restaurant occupies a historic house in the centre of Shanghai, the renovation demands a respectful attitude towards the architectural heritage. Special details were developed to connect the new facade elements and the old structure. The newly added steel and glass structure is completely detached from the original building, and a system of special wall washer lighting highlights the beauty of the architecture, giving it the quality of a museum.

STUDIO8 embarked on creating a space that reflects the chef’s vision and ultimately goes beyond it. Inspired by the transformative nature of charcoal and its role in food creation, the design unfolds around an axis of time, crossed by an axis of temperature. As the VI designer, STUDIO8 has integrated all visual identity language into the space. All the tables are custom made with VI details. The bar counter top is also divided into two wood and black parts, connected by a copper logo.

At the cross of the time and the temperature axes, above the bar, a giant installation of fanned palm leaves arranged by STUDIO8 hangs underneath the reflective stainless steel dome, celebrating the banquet of food and drink. Along the time axis in the ash area, another installation made of banana leaves and eucalyptus seeds hangs like a bouquet chandelier, representing renewal from ash.