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Online Exclusive - Winter Palace Restaurant, Haikou, China

Feb 6, 2013

Set in the city of Haikou, China, newly built Winter Palace Restaurant caters to Chinese VIPs with its regional philosophy and lore. For the design, Honglei Liu, the creative director of Shenzhen, China-based BLVD International, Inc., infused the space with the charm and extravagance of royal Chinese residences. Her method: combining strategic architecture with the five Chinese elements.


“The building where the restaurant is located maintains its high level of privacy by being located away from crowded areas, and it is nestled in the forest near the water’s edge,” says Liu. The space, owned by Hongzhou Hotel Group, owners of the detached Eadry Royal Garden Hotel, is divided into the nine quadrants of a 1,000-year-old Chinese planning system, and features a study, karaoke room, lounge, and a cantilever platform near a lake. “These are designed to create an enclosed space where the restaurant is hidden peacefully and gracefully inside,” adds Liu.

Concealing the building was less challenging than hiding its concrete structure. “The resulting solution was to maintain the effect of the traditional Chinese roof at the bottom of the exterior ridge,” says Liu. “We then added a false wood structural roof at the bottom of the interior beams as a cover for mechanical systems.”


Gray walls and tiles with gold window lattices make up the exterior. The interior includes custom-made materials—“golden brick,” ebony wood, precious china, and copper—that convey local culture. Rare wood, shaped by a root carving craft, make up the tea tables.  


“Selecting these types of materials represent a ‘noble’ nature in Chinese culture and convey the ancient culture of ‘a country with etiquette,’” says Liu. “They also represent the peaceful and natural surroundings of nature, free from the complexities and bustle of a busy world.”


To incorporate the five Chinese elements—earth, fire, gold, water, and wood—the designers crafted the restaurant’s main spaces like the elements’ geographical identities: The main dining hall as earth, the west entrance as gold, the study space as water, the lounge as wood, and the southern kitchen as fire. The exterior architecture of Winter Palace Restaurant recalls an ancient lore—about a turtle that symbolizes wealth—with an overall tortoise-like shape.


“The space represents the oriental life philosophy from ancient time,” says Liu.  “It combines tranquil and rich elegance, magnificent and luxurious amazement, and natural and harmonious comfort.”

hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



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