Shanghai, China – 2012

Three separate brand identities housed under one roof required creative use of space, and a strong sense of design identity.

The new location of this well-known restaurateur’s latest project couldn’t be more different than his eponymous restaurant Mr. Willis in Shanghai, which is a small, intimate attic space in the Former French Concession.

The whole space itself is its own universe, and each concept needed to inhabit a world all of its own. Like the movements in a piece of music, it all needed to be cohesive, striking, and declarative.

By identifying where and how the spaces would be different, we were able to easily design small, intimate rooms that never lose their connection to the entire space. What is left in between remains untreated and harbours the bar and kitchen areas – a segue to each movement or micro universe.

The Japanese restaurant is raw concrete, with warm walnut accents and a long dining bar that helps define the space. Nearby, the American restaurant sports luxurious leather sofas with movable handmade lampshades that light just the table, and its occupants.

An open kitchen plan resembles a stage, energizing the room. The last little world is the café. The café mediates with the shopping mall, and has a casually elegant feel, with smoked oak floors, copper tables, and black steel accents.

Client: Wagas Group
Size: 650 sqm
Completion: 2012
Design Scope: interior & FFE
Design Team: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf, Fredrik Garpenfield
Photography: Dirk Weiblen & Eiichi kano