The Noodle Rack Changsha
Noodle soup is a common street food all over China. While most of these noodle joints spend tremendous effort to win customers with taste, some have started to add attractive spatial design into their branding. A good example is LongXiaoBao, a newcomer in Changsha with an ambition to spread the local ShaoYang style rice noodle to the rest of China. Commissioned to realize a contemporary identity for their first restaurant, Lukstudio integrates the tradition of noodle making into the spatial design by reinterpreting a noodle rack.
Nestled along an outdoor shopping promenade nearby the Xiangjiang River, the 50-sqm noodle joint exudes a calm, yet mysterious presence with its bamboo-cast concrete storefront. Two rustic steel boxes penetrate through the austere exterior: the taller one is cladded with rusted steel panels, and its shorter neighbor is built like a metal scaffold. Together, these three elements orchestrate a journey of discovery.
Walking through the entry box, customers are greeted by a carefully composed counter that is lined with the bamboo mold used for casting the exterior. As one proceeds towards the halo surrounding the grid structure, the interior layers start to be revealed. Firstly, the original wall is stripped down to its structural blocks to resonate with the rustic metal grid. Secondly, wooden boxes are carefully placed within the rack to showcase selected porcelains. Finally, a series of metal wires are draped across the dining room to create the lighting feature with hanging bulbs. These glowing, reflective strands balance the rustic interiors, and create a poetic notion of dining under a noodle rack.
Playing with the duality of seemingly disparate elements; rustic and refined, eastern tradition and western representation, Lukstudio merges the distinction between a fast food chain and an upscale diner. The Noodle Rack differentiates itself from the stigma of the kitsch, fast food, “hole in the wall” on every street of China. It demonstrates how Chinese eateries have the potential to be transformed into hip gathering spots, comparable to the new cafés.
- net area: 50 sqm
- scope: storefront design, interior design, custom furniture & lighting design
- design: Feb – April 2015
- construction: May– July 2015
- project team: Christina Luk, Alba Beroiz Blazquez, Cai Jin Hong, Pao Yee Lim
- general contractor: Shanghai MaiChang Construction Project Co., Ltd.
- photography: Peter Dixie for LOTAN Architectural Photography