Shanghai-based Lukstudio has reinterpreted a traditional Chinese food drying rack with a metal grid structure and hanging wires for a noodle bar in Changsha (+ slideshow).
The Noodle Rack is situated on an outdoor shopping promenade near the Xiangjiang River in the capital city of Hunan Province.
Lukstudio's intention was to create "journey of discovery" in the 50-square-metre space as a response to client LongXiaoBao's brief to "change people's expectations of a noodle joint."
"We aimed to create a subdued storefront with a hidden surprise in the interiors," studio founder Christina Luk told Dezeen.
A series of reflective metal wires are suspended from the high ceiling of the dining area. In between these loops, lighting hangs at varying levels – to create the feeling of dining under a noodle rack.
The original walls are stripped down to the structural blocks and a rack-like metal grid structure sits in front, acting as a see-through box enclosing the dining area.
The structure also supports wooden display boxes, which are inserted at different points and showcase carefully selected porcelains.
"Metal wires are used to mimic the noodles because they are light and easy to shape," Luk told Dezeen. "Their reflective quality also adds to the ambient lighting with a feminine touch. They form a soft and precious volume that contrasts visually with the rigid and raw metal frames."
Lukstudio has defined two separate spaces – one for ordering and another as an inner dining area – with different shades of ceramic flooring.
"As the project evolved and the programmes developed, we became more convinced with separating the restaurant into two zones for a better spatial narrative," said Luk. "While the ordering area is a quieter prelude, the dining area is where the lighting feature reveals itself."
Together with blackened solid wood panels, the ordering desk is lined with bamboo-cast concrete that also clads the exterior. "Bamboo was chosen for its Asian elegance," Luk told Dezeen.
The rack extends out past the facade, creating a large opening like the hole-in-the-wall of kitsch takeaway eateries. Rusted steel panels frame the main entrance.
Photography is by Peter Dixie.
Project team: Christina Luk, Alba Beroiz Blazquez, Cai Jin Hong and Pao Yee Lim