Hou de Sousa Creates a Whimsical Chinese Restaurant in Quito, Ecuador

Hou de Sousa demolished previous walls to open up the restaurant and insert islands to direct the flow of foot traffic. Photography by Bicubik. 

What do you get when you mix a Chinese restaurant with urban Ecuadorian surroundings and American-style dining? The answer is Happy Panda, a bright and colorful restaurant in Quito’s picturesque Cumbayá neighborhood. Having worked with the client from their days in the Ecuadorian capital, the duo behind Hou de Sousa architecture and design studio, founders Nancy Hou and Josh de Sousa, translated the joy of eating into the space.

For seating, the designers opted for expansive booths to maximize use of the space. Photography by Bicubik. 

As Hou explains, “fried rice is now everywhere in Ecuador,” essentially a part of their national cuisine. Working with a subdued palette of materials that allude to the traditions of Chinese and Ecuadorian design, a plywood wallcovering with cutouts in the shape of grains of rice cover the walls. Additionally, the focal point of the restaurant, a series of suspended colorful lanterns made from metal and paracord, is another example of what Hou calls “a jumbo ephemeral interpretation,” of Chinese culture.

The dynamic lanterns invite invite diners
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Home Tour: Interior Designer Ed Ong Creates an Inspiring Home Office in a Shophouse

At a time when travel opportunities are scarce, Ed Ong’s study continues to be a treasure trove of inspiration. Situated on the first storey of a shophouse where the interior designer and his family have lived in for a decade, this workspace is for him to read and reflect; it’s also frequently a space where he meets his clients and guests.

The founder of Dwell Interior Design has kept a pared-down approach to the look of his home, in a way that stays true to his creative philosophy. “We didn’t go nostalgic with the design of this shophouse even though it’s a historic building; this reflects who I am. I believe in having strong, clean lines.” This minimalist scheme is reflected in the concrete screed walls that run the length of the shophouse, matched with dark timber boards for flooring. These walls feature recesses that act as shelves to display awards, memorabilia and practical items.

Ong remains hopeful about the year ahead. “We’ve managed to overcome most of these challenges with the support and understanding of both clients and vendors,” he says. “A designer must always know that he needs a team; we depend on hands that are not

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