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Asian Inspiration: Yong Yi Ting, Shanghai

The second in three-part series on Chinese restaurant design from around the globe

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This is the second of a three-part trend report on Asian Restaurant design. Additional reports cover Melbourne's Man Tong Kitchen and P.F. Chang's in Laval, Canada.

In Shanghai’s financial district on the east side of the Huangpu River, designers at Yong Yi Ting faced a major stressor: In light-loving China, the 10,000-square-foot Yong Yi Ting restaurant was 21 feet underground – and situated in the basement of a hotel, making access an issue.

New York-based designers from dash design took a multi-pronged approach, using a bright, creamy motif for common dining areas and building in two entryways, one for general dining and the other for guests of the restaurant’s eight private dining rooms. Low hanging lighting on 18-foot ceilings “makes your body more comfortable in the space, so there’s grandness but also an intimacy to it,” says dash design principal David Ashen, who has a human factors engineering background.

The project melds a European-inspired wine bar – an element the restaurateur wanted to emphasize – wrapped in dark woods with cabinetry detailing, hundreds of lanterns and rich fabrics that evoke the mysticism of Imperial China.

This project was not Ashen’s first in China but, he says, there were still few surprises. After the restaurant opened, he learned that some younger patrons in private dining rooms were asking for blinds to be raised, turning the privacy-preferred cultural norm upside down with a bit of voyeurism.

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Retailer: Yong Yi Ting, Shanghai

Design: Dash design, New York: David Ashen, executive creative director; Evelyn Sherwood, creative director; Leonard Barzsap, architectural designer; Jaithan Kochar, interior designer; Vasiliki Zannettis, interior designer/project manager; Llewelyn Cheng, project manager; Jim Su, designer; Neda Nohani, designer

Brandimage: Craig Briggs, managing director, Asia; Annie Tsoi, interior designer, Hong Kong; Wendy Lu, brand consultant, Shanghai

Lighting: Duo Lighting, Hong Kong; Anlighten Design Studio, Hong Kong; Unity Lighting, Shanghai

Signage/Graphics: Victor Arzale International Design, Hong Kong

Architecture: Arquitectonica Shanghai: Shanghai, Mason Gu, senior project architect; Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Design Group, Shanghai: Qiao Wei, vice director architect

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General Contractor: Guangzhou Pearl River Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd.; Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Photography: Xu Fei, Shanghai

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