The Canton Table

To enjoy the old-world Shanghai glamour

20 January 2020

Neri&Hu’s renovation in the Three On the Bund, a Shanghai institution building, transforms the Whampoa Club into a modern Chinese brasserie concept. Previously grandiose interiors are exchanged for a more subdued palette inspired by local street life, while still incorporating touches of opulence.

As with many of their other projects on historic sites, Neri&Hu’s first instinct is to approach the existing condition with a preservationist attitude.

Stripping back the layers of finishes built up over years of renovations, the original oeil-de beouf window on the façade becomes a main feature of the reception area, bringing in a wash of natural light into the space. The distinct geometric lines of original cast iron frames inspire the Canton Table restaurant’s insignia and various other graphic elements. 

Stepping off the lift, blanketed by textured gray brick walls, guests are absorbed immediately into the atmosphere of a Shikumen alleyway, the traditional urban typology of Shanghai. Hand-painted portraits and floral motifs add a layer of femininity to the rustic wall surfaces and welcome guests to enter.

Following along the brick walls, guests are led to a central corridor framed on either side by glass vitrines. Like archives, the vitrines display artifacts and antiques, while glass encased light fixtures demarcate the pathway. Green and white terrazzo tiles are patterned using the same geometry as the restaurant logo and bronze inlays feature Chinese characters offering good fortune.

In the public dining room, dining chairs are a modern take on traditional Ming dynasty chairs, their deep red leather upholstery echoes and compliments the wall paintings. Custom lighting floats playfully above, their curved profiles suggestive of Art Deco motifs.

Private dining rooms are in contrast to the austerity of the brick hallways, enclosing within them the domestic warmth and material richness of old colonial mansions. 

Bespoke graphic wallpapers in jewel tones, crafted herringbone and basket weave woodwork, and custom designed lantern lights exemplify Neri&Hu’s modern interpretation of Shanghai’s glamorous past and the layers of its urban vibrancy.