Perched on a sloping corner in Sheung Wan, the Mrs Pound speakeasy restaurant is tucked behind the facade of an old stamp shop.
"The restaurant's disguised facade is informed by the fictional narrative of two star-crossed lovers," said the team. "As the legend suggests, the restaurant's namesake character Mrs Pound was a renowned burlesque dancer in 1950s Shanghai."
"Weary of the limelight, the glamorous femme fatale retires in 1960s Hong Kong to seek refuge with her childhood love, the married Mr Ming," they added. "An avid stamp collector, Mr Ming sets up a neighbourhood stamp shop as the perfect front to disguise Mrs Pound's speakeasy, their clandestine meeting spot."
To access the restaurant, guests must press a secret stamp hidden within an illuminated glass case.
This activates a mechanical door that slides to reveal a vibrant green-painted wall. Guests then enter the main dining space, which is filled with vintage photos and memorabilia that tell the story of Mrs Pound's life.
The studio aimed to create an environment that fuses Eastern and Western cultures – drawing references from movies by Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai.
They divided the restaurant into two main spaces: basement and ground-floor dining areas.
While downstairs aims to evoke Mrs Pound's feminine glamour through the use pink leather banquettes and mirrored lights, upstairs is envisioned as the "rugged masculine counterpart", and is decked out in green furnishings and diagonal concrete wall panels.
Both spaces meet at the bar, where floor tiles slowly merge from pink to green. Hoop-shaped lights are suspended from the ceiling on strips of pink-coloured leather.
"The gymnastic ring lights add a layer of visual complexity to the space," said the team. "This complexity extends throughout the bar, where butterflies and other artefacts take the visitor on journey through the lives of Mrs Pound and Mr Ming."
NC Design & Architecture recently disguised another Hong Kong speakeasy as an umbrella shop. Other projects by the studio include include a multi-brand fashion boutique and a restaurant that references 1920s Malaysian coffee shops.
Interior design: NC Design & Architecture Ltd
Project designer: Nelson Chow, Alexander Chan and Johan Hovgaard Simonsen
Graphic design: NC Design & Architecture Ltd, a107 and Entendre Studios