Neri&Hu bases Shanghai burger restaurant on 1950s diners


To make this Shanghai restaurant feel like a retro American diner, Chinese studio Neri&Hu added bold tiles and an angular roof that overhangs a foldable glazed facade (+ slideshow).

Located in the former French Concession, Rachel's Burger restaurant was envisaged as "a porous space" that can be completely opened up onto Wukang Road.

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

Taking the Modernist shapes of 1950s diner restaurants as a reference, Neri&Hu introduced a chunky roof that projects over the glazed exterior walls that can be completely folded away.

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

The interior of the restaurant is also visually extended by a series of mirrored panels that reflect views from outside.

"When fully closed, a clever combination of clear and textured glass along with mirrors are used to great effect to visually extend the boundaries of the space while bringing light, views and streetscape deep into the interior," said the architects.

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

During the day, glass panels in the roof allow natural light to flood the space. At night, the restaurant is illuminated by custom-made glass pendants hanging over the dining tables.

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

Hand-painted concrete tiles are used throughout the restaurant, extending up from the floor to cover the sides of podiums that support tabletops.

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

The bold pattern also echoes the chequerboard tiles often used in typical American diners.

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

"The materials from stainless steel counter to the textured glass all are in line with the 50's aesthetic," the architects told Dezeen. "We obviously abstract most of these references but where the inspiration comes from is obvious."

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

"Geometric tiles evoke a certain 1950s look and at the same time it gives depth and texture to a very tight sight," they added.

Rachel's Burger restaurant by Neri&Hu

All seating and eating surfaces, including large communal tables with pivoting benches, were custom-made by the studio using steel and walnut.

Neri&Hu was founded by architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu in 2004. Previous projects by the studio include a Shanghai bar with bamboo-lined booths and green glass lampshades, and a wooden cabinet with seven objects to represent the seven deadly sins that was shown during Milan design week 2015.

Rachel's Burger by Neri&Hu
Plan – click for larger image
  • james

    Great design, just that this interior has been demolished and changed to something else completely. I wonder if that was successful then?

    • Jan Limon

      It’s a new building, just looks like a 1950s diner.

  • mindzb

    What a ripoff of the shake shack logo. If this wasn’t in China, they would be sued in a second.

    • Chris MacDonald

      If you look at the photos, their logo is an “R”. The light that you appear to be taking offence to is simply a light.

  • Bbaale Katarina

    The burger logo is the Shake Shack logo. The building from the outside looks just like Shake Shacks.