Xi Ding modern restaurant concept by RIGI Design
Restaurant chain Xi Ding has created a modern, upgraded setting for Chinaâ€™s everyday dining staple
Think of a dumpling restaurant as the Chinese equivalent of an American sandwich joint. Theyâ€™re on every corner and are an inexpensive staple of the countryâ€™s diet. Nobody expects cloth napkins or complicated cuisine preparation, just a solid, taste-good experience.
In fact, the usual method of service is fast-food-style. But thatâ€™s been turned on its head by the recently opened Xi Ding Dumpling restaurant in a mall in Dalian, a large city in northeastern China. Xi Ding commissioned Shanghai-based RIGI Design to develop a new high-end identity for the brand.
â€œMost dumpling restaurants exist as food stalls in Chinese peopleâ€™s lives and minds,â€ says RIGI founder Liu Kai. Since the dumplingâ€™s characteristics are so often â€œcommonâ€ and â€œinexpensive,â€ Kai says the challenge was â€œto dig up the brandâ€™s core philosophy and the connotations of its products to build a spatial experience full of cultural metaphors.â€
The overall design approach included a sleek and open entrance full of right angles and shiny surfaces, glass and marble, to portray the modern, high-end intention of the brand. But Kai also infused the space with material choices that borrowed from centuries of dumpling-making heritage.
â€œWe developed some elements from the traditional dumpling tools, containers, techniques and colors,â€ Kai says, â€œto present [the] dumplingâ€™s historical accumulation and cultural connotation in an implicative way.â€
For example, geometric patterns within rattan wall panels call on the dumplingsâ€™ handmade characteristics. An open kitchen at the entrance emphasizes the natural, â€œfresh and healthyâ€ essence of the brand, and interior walls encased in regimented rows of dinner plates and bowls reflect the characteristics of the simple dumpling.
In its use of sophisticated lighting and an elegant but comfortable seating plan, RIGI has rebranded an everyday Chinese favorite into an upgraded dining experience.
RIGI Design, Shanghai
Photography: Zi-Min Liu, Shanghai
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