'Chi-Q' restaurant in Shanghai, China by Neri&Hu
Situated within the prestigious Three on the Bund, Chi-Q is renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s newest addition to a growing collection of restaurants in Shanghai bearing his name. It is the first one, worldwide, to serve an upscale menu dedicated to the culinary offerings of Korea, a country and culture that is much loved by the chef.
The design concept celebrates the beauty of the dramatic yet often neglected atrium at the heart of the restaurant, a feature of the momentous 2004 renovation of this historic building. Neri&Hu’s design creates an abstracted landscape; the interiors providing guests with an architectural experience that complements the unique gastronomic experience. Clad in charcoal wood slats and concrete floors, the entrance of the restaurant is reminiscent of the discrete and private entrances found in traditional Korean houses. Upon crossing the threshold of a wooden gate, guests are led naturally to the long bar along the window, where they may relax with a drink and enjoy an open view onto the raised garden with its massive stone-block backdrop.
Diners will experience their meal in half sunken seating banquettes that lead up to the communal table situated under the large void of the atrium, re-establishing this architectural feature as the heart and climax of the spatial experience. With its unique composition of light, shadows and reflective patterns that evoke the canopy of a forest, the warm-toned metal ceiling is the defining feature that runs throughout the entire dining space. With a deep understanding of materiality, the striking atmosphere inside the main dining space recalls the richness of Korean cuisine — both space and food representing a balance between the delicate, the raw and the vibrant.