AB Concept: The Chinese Library, Aqua Restaurant Group
Posted on June 06 2019
Design studio, AB Concept, unveil the interiors of Aqua Restaurant Group’s trio of dining destinations in the former Central Police Station in Hong Kong
International and luxury design studio, AB Concept unveil one of their latest projects; three dining destinations for Aqua Restaurant Group, located in the former Central Police Station in Hong Kong. Named 'The Chinese Library', 'Statement' and 'The Dispensary' the restaurants and bar occupy the 7,500 square foot venue within the 100-year-old former police headquarters, showcasing three distinct designs that marry the past life of the structure with the rich historical narrative of Hong Kong itself.
Upon arrival, guests enter the space by walking up the grand iron-balustrade staircase, an original feature to the building, passing beautiful double-storey circular windows that invite guests to sample views that look out onto the busy city streets that lay beneath; a juxtapose to the calming and opulent surroundings of the restaurants.
The avant-garde London culinary destinations inspire the designs of the 'Statement' restaurant, producing an elegant and contemporary vibe that showcases the original architectural features to their fullest potential. The colonial pitched ceilings and full-length period windows create an air of grandeur to the space, features rarely found within Hong Kong culinary destinations. A design trait for the studio, the duo compliment the impressive traditional features with touches of contemporary glamour, introducing the historic interior into the current day with beautiful shimmering fabrics in blue/green hues, paired with bespoke pearl-glass chandelier lighting that has been inspired by British lanterns, and badge-shaped mirrors that celebrate and reference the historical significance of the space. Turquoise cracked plaster adorns the walls which maintain a sense of antiquity alongside the original century-old wooden flooring and over-sized windows to complete the interior's design.
The Chinese Library
Conceived to reflect the historic influx of migrants from regions all over China, the Chinese Library’s menu pays tribute to the contribution each region has made to the colourful Hong Kong cuisine. The studio retained the classic fittings, including the doors, windows and the original century-old wooden flooring in the grand dining room, combining a tasteful blend of Colonial and Oriental influences. Bespoke-crafted banquette booths with dimly lit mood lighting offer intimate seating with a friendly atmosphere. Draping chandeliers inspired by strings of Chinese lanterns hang from the original and exposed roof structure, drawing the eyes up into the vast space. Bronze, copper and celadon tones hint towards the illustriousness of Chinese jade in the colonial era. Jade-coloured walls featuring ornate gold mirrors, backlit green onyx screens, and black and white antique Chinese marble tabletops bring the glory of a bygone era to light. Large colonial doors that open onto the expansive verandah reveal more of the building’s history, with balcony louvres echoing the traditional style of colonial window screens.
Our final destination, 'The Dispensary', is infused with classic elements and modern nuances to the building’s past. Situated in what would have been the police headquarters’ mess hall, the textured plaster walls reference the same dark blue used for the region's police uniforms and, on either side are adorned with two specially designed mirrored shields, inscribed with historical tales of the structures past. The black and white checked mosaic flooring is a nod to the interior's origin, how it would have looked in its former days as an off-duty bar for its officers. Copper-tray table tops pay tribute to the official police plaque, situated around low-level lounge seating, while the bar itself encases itself in a metallic fence resonant of the old police armoury.
AB Studio is internationally recognised for their incredible attention to detail, heartfelt design references and appreciation of a project's heritage. Interiors created by the talented design duo continue the journey, telling a story that references the past while laying the foundations for the next chapter. The spaces feel connected to their surroundings as if they have always been there and always will. Very few studios can get to the very heart of a project as Ed Ng and Terence Ngan and The Chinese Library is a testament to their incredible abilities.