“Like the food, there’s a Cantonese baseline in the decor but it’s just a jumping off point. You see that in the Star Ferry green that we use, especially on the metal canopy over the bar. It’s a heritage touch that strikes an emotional chord in people here. Instead of powder coating, we’ve hand-painted it for that authentic thick, globby quality that is so familiar to us.
“I wanted to create a nostalgic kiss to the romance and history of Victorian Hong Kong but avoid that Disneyfication that you sometimes see. The opening hours mean it’s basically a bistro and so it needed to be more cosmopolitan. We have clean lines and soft curves and everything has been kept light and bright.
“I used oak and birch with brass inlay for the tables and woodwork and, for the floors, three kinds of light beige marble. Some of the vintage elements are actually brand-new works from very modern European designers, like the grainy and inconsistent rust-coloured wall, which is made with pressure-treated volcanic ash tiles.”
“When the restaurant’s facade was installed, Elizabeth [Chu Yuet-han, of ZS Hospitality Group] felt that the oxidised metal finish we had decided on was too serious and industrial-looking so about three weeks before our soft opening, we decided to paint it the same Star Ferry green as the bar canopy.
“I really liked the previous finish and I felt so sad for about three days but then they took down the hoarding and I thought, ‘You know, this works!’ Now I can’t even see it any other way. I call my company Bespoke Studio after all and that is just part of the process.”
“We had an absolute dream client for this project. We saw eye to eye on almost everything and she was fine with us sourcing everything from our first choice suppliers, even though they are all over the world.
“The other highlight was literally the lighting, which gives the restaurant so much of its warm and inviting atmosphere. There are downlights, uplights, yarn tassel lights from Denmark, brass wall sconces from New Zealand, cut-glass ceiling sconces from London and a huge wicker pendant I hand carried myself back from the Philippines. A lot of people like to photograph their food and the lighting here is perfect for that.”
“I’m a lighting person. I love lighting so that’s always a big priority for me. Make sure your lighting comes from at least four sources to create a warm atmosphere with no harsh shadows.”