Alan Yau, founder of the Wagamama, Busaba Eathai and Hakkasan restaurants, is set to unveil the designs of two innovative dining projects – Yauatcha and Chowbar.
Chowbar, a novel take on the Chinese traditional chop suey house, is scheduled to open in autumn 2004, though Yau has not confirmed all the consultancies involved.
The first Chowbar will open in Kingly Court in central London, with interiors designed by Christian Liaigre, creator of interiors for Busaba Eathai and Hakkasan. Chowbar is based on a canteen-style experience, with ‘loose furniture and lighting’.
The brief aims to create a modern ‘Chinese’ interior that is accessible. ‘It is different because this [will] be a much more straightforward dining experience. What I call a dynamic canteen,’ says Yau, who plans to expand the Chowbar concept in the London area.
Yauatcha opens in the spring. It will be situated over two floors in the Richard Rogers-designed Ingeni building in London’s Soho.
A fusion between an all-day ‘dim sum’ experience, a Chinese teahouse or ‘yum cha’ and a Parisian salon, Yauatcha involves a range of design initiatives. It is also being designed by Liaigre.
North Design is undertaking the branding, packaging and identity design which, due to the hybrid concept behind Yauatcha, is a complex task.
‘We have to think about [distinguishing] the retail items within the teahouse and the dim sum restaurant,’ says North senior designer Jeremy Coysten, who is responsible for the Yauatcha identity, alongside Sean Perkins.
‘We’ve looked at [using] different colour schemes, as there are so many different areas within Yauatcha,’ he continues.
North has also worked closely with Yau on previous projects, and created the identity for Busaba Eathai (DW 10 December 1999).