by Jincy IypeSep 25, 2021
Named 50% Cloud, this unusual cluster of buildings created by Chinese local artist Luo Xu manifests as red brick mounds that mushroom within Dongfengyun Town in China’s Yunan Province. Cheng Chung Design (CCD) has placed arrays of sweeping, exposed brick arches inside these, that bloom forth to create stunning interiors of a restaurant, 50% Cloud Artists Lounge. “The buildings look like a mega art installation and half of a cloud that undulates in the sky. They feature solid facades, curved contours and volumes set at staggering heights,” relays the Hong Kong-based practice led by Joe Cheng.
Composed entirely of locally produced red bricks, sans a single steel bar or nail, these unorthodox, fantastical mounds exist between the realms of land art and architecture, and are described as a ‘utopia built on red soil’. The restaurant design unfurls inside and references the architectural vocabulary of the red brick dome complexes here and subtly embodies an Art Deco Style, resulting in its picturesque, unique identity.
Cheng shares that the interiors follow a concept of “light highlights the existence of all things; As Le Corbusier said, ‘Architecture is the masterly, correct, and magnificent play of masses brought together in light. Our eyes are made to see forms in light: light and shade reveal these forms’”. Therefore, light is one of the core players in the design of the restaurant. “We guide, play with light, and cleverly bring it into the building, where guests can experience the change of light every minute,” he continues.
Circular openings are cut into the roof to become skylights that let in filtered daylight, while other sources of natural light are placed evenly throughout the brick architecture. Guests sitting inside can perceive an excellent interplay of filtered sunshine and cloud shadows, lending the cavernous space warmth and a theatrical charm. The elements inside are planned and placed according to how the light shifts during the day and hits the bare, rough brick walls, creating interesting spatial arrangements.
Leafy trees punctuate the brick sculptures outside and accompany the front steps, and a few of them find their way inside the restaurant as well, overlooking seating booths. The space is enlivened with soft lighting, earthy furnishings and a modest yet classy material palette. The VIP entrance leads to the central lobby and reception desk, with a concealed washing area and toilets behind it. The other, smaller entry opens into the larger dining space with the bar sitting roughly in the middle, and several types of seating layouts organically coming up around it. To the lobby’s right lies the smaller, VIP dining section. The kitchen has been kept detached from the mounds and lies at a short distance behind the VIP section, while a small furniture storeroom finds place near the VIP entrance.
The interior design of 50% Cloud Artists Lounge is both rustic and refined, and sits as an extension of the natural curves of its skin, articulated by large-span arches and soaring ceilings accentuated by natural light. “The curved lines of the building’s exterior are extracted and applied to the entirety of the interior space. Every article inside is thus an artwork. The curved steel panel at the entrance leads guests to enter the interior, while adding an artistic touch to the space and evoking imagination as well,” reiterates CCD design team.
Name: 50% Cloud Artists Lounge
Location: Mile City, Yunnan Province, China
Area: 550 sqm
Year of completion: 2020
Interior design, Lighting design, Decoration, Artwork design: Cheng Chung Design (CCD)