Serving classic Cantonese dishes and seasonal specialties, Moon Lok Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong is located inside Xiqu Centre, an 8-story performing arts center in the emerging West Kowloon Culture District.

Designed by NC Design & Architecture Ltd. (NCDA), the restaurant was inspired by the idea of a Chinese garden, which is traditionally a sanctuary to form an intimate connection with nature and has a romanticized place in Chinese culture as an oasis for relaxation and family time.

In this case, the garden is interpreted topographically, designed with no direct perspective in order to encourage a sense of curiosity along its meandering paths. Guests are greeted by a 3-foot-tall bonsai tree at the entrance — a white archway motif that repeats throughout the dining room.

A row of white arches lines the main dining room, providing a sense of mystery and discovery for guests and separating the area from the kitchen, bar, cashier and VIP rooms. Framed floral artwork is set against silver-leaf backgrounds, giving a futuristic twist to the traditional Chinese garden aesthetic.

The ceiling and floor are inspired by rural terraced landscapes. The ceiling evokes an inverted topographic map in various shades of green. The furniture — custom “tubular” banquettes with rattan detailing — is in yet another shade of green to suggest the outdoors and provide a respite from urban life in Hong Kong.

Images courtesy of Nic Gaunt