Restaurant Development & Design

JAN-FEB 2019

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • 4 9 of the main dining room were fashioned from traditional Chinese woks, to which the designers applied an aged, copper- green patina. Ladder-like structures that add interest and dimension to brick walls behind banquettes feature custom iron frames with rungs built from the type of wooden rolling pins used to make fresh noodles. A feature wall behind the host desk is covered in an abstract mosaic that was handcrafted from shards of vintage, traditional blue and white plates found in most Chinese homes, according to Fong. Fong imported hundreds of the plates for the wall, which became one of Harrell's favorite design features for its creative celebration of mundane objects that fit the brand. "Part of our personality is to embrace the kitschy and almost weird aspects of Asian design, which his- torically is pretty tacky," Harrell says. "That's really how our culture received design up until the last 20 years or so. We pay homage to that without making it a tacky restaurant. For this wall we took the really wonky blue and white plates that you'd find in your Asian grandmoth- er's cabinet, crashed them on the floor and made a very cool mosaic feature out of them." "Wonky" begets cool elsewhere in the restaurant, too, with design elements that have become Hawkers signatures. A collage created from vintage Asian comics creates a brand-boosting wallcovering for the restrooms, where 1960s Chinese opera music adds to the experience. Tabletops are inlayed with Chinese newspapers, a thematic nod to the role newsprint has played as packag- ing for some traditional street foods. Neon characters above the open kitchen — a Cantonese colloquialism that rough- ly translates to "let's eat!" — lend a nostalgic, streetscape effect. The artistic bar face pays homage to 1920s and '30s Shanghai, when fascination with Western pop culture was building fast. "Shanghai in the 1920s was very East-meets-West, which really speaks to the personality of this brand," Fong says. "Theme-wise, the bar treatment is similar to what we tried to do in the restrooms, except the content there has more to do with movies and pop culture in the early to mid-century. The movie scene, West- ern-influenced fashion and nightclubs became very popular, as did art deco. For the bar, we used vintage posters to create a collage feel, taking a textured, layered approach. The narrative effect is a bit like when people paste advertising bills and posters onto walls on the streets." Vintage Shanghai is channeled in Hawkers private dining room as well. Separated from the main dining room (when needed) by large mahogany and glass doors, the room takes on a stylish 1920s mahjong parlor look and feel with the use of saturated colors, period Brit- ish wallpaper, mirrors, vintage collect- ibles and plenty of chinoiserie. Both Harrell and Fong say the overall intention of the menu and design at Hawkers is to create a unique and authentic experience. The concept's full-service format, Harrell adds, gives customers an opportunity to learn more about the food and the culture from which it comes than would be possible in a fast-casual environment, which might seem a more natural fit for a street-food- focused brand. "We wanted to give people the experience, even if just for an hour and a half out of their week, of traveling somewhere adventurous and to create the feeling of anticipation and discov- ery," Harrell says. "In order to do that, we needed their attention for a little bit longer, and we needed strong experi- ential elements. It all comes together really well at Windermere." + Patio Server Station Bar Main Dining Area Kitchen Private Dining

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