Situated on the far western edge of the island, Tai O is a real insight into Hong Kong’s humble beginnings. Fishermen houses were once a common sight throughout Hong Kong, but only those of Tai O have been preserved on such a large scale. Much of Tai O’s timeless appeal lies in the fact that it feels a million miles away from the lightning pace of urban Hong Kong. This 300 year old fishing village is regarded as a pearl of heritage as the rest of Hong Kong is mostly made of skyscraper canyons filled with a never-ending stream of vehicular traffic. On the other side Wyndham Street in central Hong Kong is the hottest night life strip. Trendy restaurant and bars seems to compete with each other to get the newest and sleekest image. Design concept of Tipping Point was conceived around the striking contrast between these two realities. The goal of the project is bringing authenticity of design and home made beer and food in the heart of Hong Kong.
The project unfolds on two floors. At the ground floor the space is long and narrow, on the back a proper brewery is installed to produce a fine range of craft beers, on the opposite side, the entrance area opens up to the street. Tipping Point aims to establish on the market as a unique brand of craft beers and the first floor is dedicated to this program while upstairs a restaurant serves quite experimental western cuisine .
Craft beer tends to create a community culture. Craft brewers and drinkers alike love to come together to talk beer, new beers, old favorites, the latest collaborations and even the brewing process. A room with an atmosphere and dim lights and a very strong sense of identity was in the client’s briefing a mandatory feature. Idea of authenticity has been the driven motif in the developing design process. Real materials like painted or solid wood, copper, brass, marble, leather have been selected as opposite to typical layered materials like laminates or acrylic resins which normally used to replicate more expensive surfaces. All materials are solid to give a sense of permanence and consistency as opposite to the obsession of “sleekness” and “newness” so typical in Hong Kong’s interiors which end up being so “old” already after a few years. Ageing element is actually kept in account as an added value in recognizing the beauty of the signs of times on a solid surface.
Material board was made by looking at Tai’O typical fisherman house where like a patchwork a variety of textures and materials are assembled together. Rusted textured metal sheets are bolted on each other in a irregular way, wood panels are made of boards taken form boats or other houses and when assembled together they never happened to have the same color. Furniture are frequently made of the same building material of architecture like cement, tiles, painted wood and in order to resist the time they always come in heavy and thick thicknesses. All these elements are like words of a valuable language and it has been very easy to formulate them into a design concept. Wooden surface painted in various colors is like a skin that covers both vertical and horizontal surfaces. These panels are framed on the walls by horizontal brass profiles and vertical concrete textured pillars. The same wooden texture is also used for tops of counters and tables, framed by thick solid wood edges some of these tops have angular irregular shapes as if they were cut-out pieces. .
Vertical panels are decorated by brass panels cut in angular lines and fixed to the back by bolts in the old style way. These irregular graphic textures are inspired by the Tai’O motifs but ironically meet pretty well with the ultra-modern sensibility in deconstructive lines .
Cool industrial look of brass panels adds on to the presence of the brewery’s tanks which are actually producing the brand’s craft beer distributed directly through pipes from the bar wall’s taps at the ground floor and from the central table’s tap of the restaurant at the first floor. .
Traditional black pendant lights typical of every old school Honk Kong restaurant are alternated to ultra modern “GLAS” light by Diesel-Foscarini and Aerodrome table design by Alberto Puchetti-Arboit for Northern Lighting
Like lining fabric of a colorful tailored jacket the color palette of the toilet, in contrast with burgundy-brown dark tones of restaurant and bar has a very controlled image: gray cement paint on walls and floor combined with black and white angular tridimensional tiles.