Dumpling Lab is an innovative Chinese restaurant with a main focus of dumplings. The restaurant is located on East 9th in East Village, Manhattan, New York, and is divided into two parts: ground level and basement.
▼餐厅外观，Restaurant exterior ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
East Village of 70s and 80s can always trigger much imagination. Although the glory days have been gone, traces of its culture tags, such as punk, graffiti, hippies, tattoo shops, Bohemia can still be found. It’s still a neighborhood of young people with most avant-garde schools and restless hormones. East village is now known for its experimental music clubs, independent theaters and all sorts of food from the globe. Dumplings, one of the most classic dishes in Chinese cuisine, embody its subtle richness through changes of seemingly simple wraps and fillings. Our client and the chef invent new flavors of dumplings through numerous experiments using new techniques and ingredients. At the same time, they also want to incorporate a bar and party spaces in the restaurant. A series of keywords such as “avant-garde culture of East Village”, “experimental interpretation of traditional flavor” and “dumpling shop integrates bar function” have become the origin of our design.
▼就餐区概览，Overview of the dining area ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
Our client is an artist who graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Arts and his keen ideas on design provided us with much key inspirations. We agreed with him that Dumpling Lab needs to be presented in an atmosphere not like a traditional restaurant. However, experimental and avant-garde trials often mean the sacrifice of customers’ experience. Instead of emphasizing the conflict between the content and the container, we hope to achieve the dual stimulation of taste and visual experience through comparison. To be more explicit, we hope restaurant guests can enjoy comfortable, gluttonous and immersive experience in a space that is simple, clean, and somewhat mysterious.
▼地下就餐区前厅，Underground dining area ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
▼轴测图，Anoxometric drawing ©UN_GROUP
Light is the key to our design. The two floors, the ground floor and the basemen, are about 153 m2 in total. We incorporate the concept of “lab” to create changeable, uncertain and elusive spaces with different intensity of cold and warm lighting. During the day, it provides daily catering; at night, it is transformed into a bar. From outside to inside and then to the underground, we create three “light portals”. The first one is the French window made of iridescent glass with black frame on the facade, which reflects the street view of East Village in magic colors and at the same time dimly reveals the light of the bar inside. The bar is the second light portal. An LED light frame defines out a rectangle interface. The inner side of the interface is the bar space surrounded by stainless steel plates. PC boards to the background of the bar is illuminated by warm color wall washer from the back. The third light portal in the basement is an immersive space of cool blue color enclosed by mirrors, backlit PC boards, metal paint walls and ceiling covered by ripple stainless steel boards.
▼吧台，The bar ©Yuncheng Dong
▼吧台近景，Close shot of the bar ©Yuncheng Dong
▼地上地下冷暖切换的界面，The interface where coolness and warmth interchanges ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
▼地下层角镜细部，Angular mirror in the basement ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
▼地下就餐区近景，Close shot of the underground dining area ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
Most of the light sources are indirect lighting. The cove lightings and backlights emphasize key design elements. In particular, the PC boards further soften the light from the wall washer behind to form several facades of highlights. We use a large number of reflective materials that light can bounce off, including stainless steel, ripple board, mirror, metal paint and sintered stone, which further enrich the layers of lighting. Although the color contrast between the two floors is strong, the relatively uniform and soft lighting maximizes dining comfort.
▼地下就餐区细部，Details of the underground dining area ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
▼就餐区装饰细部，Details of the decorations in the dining area ©黄凯翔 Kaixiang Huang
As mentioned at the beginning, we hope that Dumpling Lab can bring an experimental Chinese flavor to the world’s culinary hub while taking root in the undying spirit of East Village. Through the “light portals”, we create spaces with different cold and warm lighting sensations. The gradually thickened light portals form increasing sense of attraction and enclosing, stimulate the taste buds with deliciousness and flood the senses with light. People can taste, can get tipsy, can be immersed, can be intoxicated, can feel at home, and can travel to the secret elsewhere.
▼洗手间，The washroom ©Yuncheng Dong
摄影版权：黄凯翔、Yuncheng Dong、UN-GROUP 未集建筑
Project name: Dumpling Lab
Project type: Interior Design
Design: UN-GROUP 未集建筑
Design year: 2020.1
Completion Year: 2021.10
Leader designer & Team: Yutian Wang(Lead), Xiaoyu Wang(Lead), Chao Wang, Hao Chang
Project location: New York, NY, USA
Gross built area: 153㎡
Photo credit: Kaixiang Huang, Yuncheng Dong、UN-GROUP 未集建筑
Partner: Dreamscript Lab
Clients: Dumpling Lab
Materials: PC board, stainless steel, terrazo tiles，metellic paint
Brands: Lighting: Kreon、Iguzzini, PC board：GALLINA
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