“The brief was to take the best bits of Feast and then marry in some of the functions that were maybe lacking previously. Although Feast was modern when it opened, there’s now a lot more demand for a type of shared workspace. Adding Domain, a cafe, would give guests a more casual food option, somewhere that would serve people through the day.
“Chef Mark Percy wanted to keep the semi-buffet but was keen to open up the kitchen more, to take it out from behind the glass wall and make it more lively and engaging. All of these elements had to be layered into the existing space.
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“We thought about the gradation of materiality. We wanted the restaurant tones to be darker, warmer and more cosseting so it’s much, much richer on that side, while on the Domain side, which is more of an approachable, interactive daytime space – with cakes and coffees and bread being baked – it’s much brighter with lighter colours.
“The idea was to always have the two extremities with that gradation between the two; even the timber slatting goes from very, very light to very, very dark to give us that merging of the two spaces.”
“We started on-site in the late spring (2020) but the design work was done mostly in 2019 before Covid hit. Thankfully, a lot of the design worked well already; the space is very open, very airy. Most of the tabletops are either stone or timber so can be easily disinfected and most of the chairs are leather so, again, they are easier to clean than soft furnishings – interior designers are saying that Covid is the end of the cushion!
“We did reduce the restaurant seating, temporarily, so that’s less dense than we originally planned but the booths and seating in Domain were widely spaced already as we’d been thinking about people having meetings and private conversations there.”
“I’m pleased we managed to keep the ceilings really high and clean, which is always difficult to do with air conditioners and electrics to worry about. The open kitchen/buffet-style area has worked out well. It feels like it’s part of the overall restaurant space and it’s giving the chefs the opportunity to engage with the customers, making it all a bit less stiff and formal.”
“Don’t be afraid of colour and of mixing styles together. Creating separate zones using different colouring and materials is something that can work just as well in the limited space of a small apartment. Be brave.”
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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