|Project Name||BEE DUCK||Posted in||Restaurants, Design, Interior Design||Location||
|Design Studio||HAO Design||Area (sqm)||200||Completed||2019|
Taking over a traditional terrace house in in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan, BEE DUCK is a new restaurant that whimsically conjures the industrial side of the Victorian era through a steampunk aesthetic. Local interior design studio HAO Design has taken advantage of the building’s idiosyncrasies – a narrow, elongated floor plan, steel frame construction and multiple mezzanine levels – creating an intriguing sequence of spaces that begs to be explored. Salvaged cast iron components and repurposed industrial equipment, eclectically combined with period furnishings and a collection of classical portraits featuring anthropomorphic ducks, conjure a retro-fantastical venue that imbue patrons with wonder and delight.
The main challenge that the designers had to deal with was the lack of natural lighting in the heart of the building due to the property’s narrow floorplan. Their solution was to create a small atrium in the heart of the building by moving the existing staircase to the back – a complicated intervention which also entailed raising the height of part of the building in order to accommodate the new staircase. The small atrium not only allows natural light to flood inside from the skylight above and trickle down to the ground floor, but also permits patrons to cherish the playful tangle of mezzanine levels from all sort of vantage points and viewing angles as they move across and around the restaurant.
Taking advantage of the 40-year-old building’s steel frame construction, the designers have imbued the interior with a retro-industrial aesthetic by exposing the weathered steel structure, and using steel throughout the interiors, seen in the new staircase and balustrades, to the vintage French cast iron window grilles. Nods to the 19th-century industrial era abound with brass handrails around the atrium, vintage patterned glass in the facades and black, kiln-fired ceramic floor tiles, as well as a rich collection of bespoke light fixtures made from vintage components – the most notable of which is a large chandelier made from antique laboratory glassware, rusted iron fasteners and vintage cogs and gears that could very well have come out of a Jules Verne book.
The nostalgic blurring of history and fiction is further enhanced by a mishmash of classic furniture with a pre-industrial polish, gilded framed mirrors and portraits of illustrious anthropomorphic ducks, not to mention the wood panelled displays of leather-bound books and vintage vials and flasks adorning the new staircase where it seems Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters would have feel very much at home.