Project name: Cafe Flo Taikooli
Category: Restaurant
Location: Beijing, China
Date completed: July 2016
Interior designer: David Chang Design Associates International Ltd. (DCDA)

This prior hot pot restaurant was acquired by the 116 years old Brasserie FLO from Paris. DCDA (David Chang Design Associates International) were commissioned to design a new subsidiary brand restaurant by FLO. The new bar and restaurant – Cafe Flo – is located in Taikooli at Sanlitun District of Beijing and the mall itself is a must-see destination for visitors, both domestically and internationally. The challenge was to create an inviting dining experience, with respect paid to the building’s existing imposing beams and columns. The colour tones of this cafe were inspired by the elegance of bygone Napoleonic era, Parisian blue and brass gold. The overall design was based on the iconic French Art Deco style brasserie. The chandelier, with its honeycomb structure, can be traced back as a symbolic icon to the Art Deco period.

The physical challenges of this 314 square metre restaurant include a very long, narrow frontage with a two storey ceiling that dramatically drops to 3.3 metres at the interior restaurant area and structural beams that are neither symmetrically placed nor centering to any vertical axis within the space. The narrowness of the space was artfully conquered with the use of beveled mirrored trims and panels reflecting the unadorned windows and merging the exterior with the interior into a unifying expanse. The beams were wrapped with wood trim and inset painted panels to better integrate with their surroundings. The central beams were arced to reflect the momentum created by Art Deco forms.

Efficiency in operations were achieved by establishing circular trafficking with separate kitchen access for food pick up and dirty dish drop off. Guests are greeted upon entering with extensive menu offerings on display for casual dining in at the communal table, for those that like to socialise, or at the window seats for a little solitary observation. This delectable array on display at the entrance also encourages high volume “to go” traffic without detracting from the dining ambience within. Borrowing from classic French bygone eras, Café Flo bestows Beijing with an authentic Paris bistro experience.