by VisionnaireNov 17, 2022
Hong Kong-based Studio Adjective's spatial designs and product designs are experiments in gripping the straight lines, spinning them along different trajectories, and placing them at varying stretches to configure spaces and objects, that, despite a uniform usage of linear strokes and geometries, evince a distinct contrast. It is an interior design and product design practice founded by Emily Ho and Wilson Lee. The multidisciplinary design studio, in staying true to its name, operates on the idea of defining their projects with a valuable description, a story, a narrative, which insists on helping establish a connection with people, communities and their locale, and which is either visual or concealed. A major cause that steers the ideation process at the design studio is sustainability. In an attempt to ensure and enhance the self-sustainability of their creations, Studio Adjective spends ample time in researching and foraging for materials and techniques that are low impact and can sustain graciously through time. A recent project by the studio where these values were employed, is an eco-minded Food and Beverage project, KIN Food Halls, at Taikoo Place, a busy commercial and office complex in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong.
The studio defines the space as “a food hall where craft and sustainability combine to shine." Located in Taikoo Place, which is known as one of the best planned business hubs in Hong Kong, KIN Food Halls is a food court which is created in response to its business-district locale, the focus on Asian cuisine paramount in the area, and a unanimous commitment to environmental sustainability. “We wanted to bring together ideas of sustainability and fine craftsmanship in the custom furniture—so that visitors can appreciate sustainable materials in crafted forms,” shares Wilson Lee, the co-founder and design director of Studio Adjective.
The food court, spread across an area of 18,000 square feet, evokes images of the minimalist furniture and interiors found in contemporary Korean and Japanese locales. Both the spatial planning and the furniture design of and for the food court is built and curated by Studio Adjective. The open floor plan of the food hall is segmented into the kitchen area, the bar, show kitchens, dining spaces, and separate pickup points for dine-in visitors and those visiting for takeaways. The spatial planning of the food court not only ensures the presence of various vantage points and seating options for visitors, while helping maintain an easy and unwavered movement of the staff members as well as the visitors, but also presents the opportunity for conducting meetings and events, or tending to the rush hour during lunch. During evenings, however, the space transforms to accommodate a more relaxed dine-in experience.
The interiors of KIN Food Hall are defined by a string of geometrical shapes and configurations. From the concentric linear pattern on the floor and the arrangement of furniture at right angles, to wooden battens and concrete bricks arranged in straight lines on the walls and ceiling of the food court—the interior design of the food joint is writ in a rich configuration of linear features. These elements are further enhanced by the usage of natural and sustainable materials, the benign texture and hue of which highlights the geometries further. Nearly 25 per cent of the materials used in the interiors and furniture are sustainably sourced and recycled.
While the floors are lined with marmoleum, a linoleum floor covering made out of linseed oil, wood flour, limestone, resin and jute, the ceiling is covered in acoustic spray plaster, which is a flexible seamless sound absorption solution. Mild steel fixtures are used in a number of places across the food court and the stackable wooden furniture, namely, the stools and tables are built using unique and attractive joinery techniques. The table tops are crafted using food residues obtained from Asian dishes, and the lampshades, shaped to resemble the tea picker’s hat, are made from leaf discards of the Longjing tea. Other sustainable materials employed within the food court include recycled circuit boards for bench tops, recycled wood chips terrazzo for the takeaway counter and reclaimed wood for the table tennis tables.
The entrance to the KIN Food Halls is marked by a metal mesh that is inspired by norens—traditional Japanese fabric dividers. This warm hued and textured alley serves as a counterpoint to the digital screens displayed adjacent to them. The metal mesh frame, fastened to a wooden lattice, evokes images of the bamboo scaffolds found at construction sites in Hong Kong. The patterns apparent in this area are picked up and replicated on the marmoleum floor of the food court, and other areas.
On the dessert and beverage bar, a detachable conveyor belt is fixed. Sushi, tapas and cheese platters are moved around the counter to the eight high bar tables place around the bar counter. On the other hand, a designated Pizza Bar tends to the needs of pizza lovers. The bar design is like a stage for the chef, with high stools—made out of recycled linoleum by Japan’s Ishinomaki Laboratory—placed around the periphery of the bar. The show kitchens in the food court are conceptualised as pavilions. Clad in granite and wood, combined with stainless steel, they make for interesting frames to look into. The takeaway orders, on the other hand, are catered to at the four to-go stations, where a clear and visible signage in the form of luminescent pendant lanterns guide the path for the visitors.
The entire floor area of the food hall is dotted with timber screens. Their latticework not only facilitates the play of light and shadows but also ensures a sense of privacy without blocking the view out completely. Sliding wooden doors affixed in the area enables the enclosure of two spaces into rooms fro private meetings and events.
The sloping ceiling, clad in wood, makes the space appear like a pavilion, and orients the viewer’s eye outward, towards the greenery. The six-seater window-side booths within the space, made using stained oakwood and stainless steel, offer stretching views of the hills outside. The platform-style seating, on the other hand, offers visitors a chance to take off their shoes and snuggle in a cosy spot. It elicits the memories of traditional tatami floor seating. Other furniture in the food include ping-pong tables and stools that can double as communal tables and stools, for meals.
The grid planning of the interiors serves as an organisational tool. Water stations, tray return stations and self-service condiment stations employ this pattern to design the dividers which hold the cups, trays and condiments neatly.