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27 June 2012
AMMO Restaurant by Wang
A new restaurant by Wang in Hong Kong’s Admiralty district pays homage to its site and surroundings writes Annie Gotterson.
Housed in the Grade I historical building that is the new Asia Society Hong Kong Center (ASHKC), Ammo is the latest reincarnation of a space that was once part of an explosives magazine compound built by the British Army more than a century and a half ago.
Designed by Tod William and Billie Tsien, the new ASHKC opened earlier this year and contains restored colonial buildings and new structures. The site, which is nestled against a hill and surrounded by overgrown trees and shrubs, is one-in-a-million in a city as densely built as Hong Kong.
“The site is amazing,” says Wang founder Joyce Wang. “The landscape is very primitive. It could be from any time from the Jurassic period to today, but the architecture of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center is very modern. This makes people very aware of their surroundings,” she says.
Floor-to-ceiling glass windows make the most of the surrounding greenery, and reinforce the juxtaposition between the building and its site. They also show off the space’s 6-metre ceilings and dramatic sculptural chandeliers.
In a nod to the building’s former use, copper is used liberally throughout the 1,000 square-foot restaurant, giving it a decidedly industrial and militaristic vibe. Custom-designed fittings, such as the ribs that support the bunker-like roof, a large feature wall that sits behind the bar, the 3 large chandeliers and various other interior accents are all made with the metal.
Wang says the sculptural chandeliers, which take their form from spiral staircases and were inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 sci-fi flick Alphaville, are her favourite part of the design.
“They’re completely made from copper pluming pipes and parts,” she says. “I think it’s really interesting that a very raw material that’s usually hidden behind walls can be used to make a luxurious chandelier. People usually associate luxury with the exotic or rare, but these materials are readily available in everyday hardware stores.”
To match the dominant copper tone, Wang custom-designed all fixtures and furniture in a colour palette that ranges from neutral to mossy green and amber.
Materials used include leather, velvet and silk – answering a part of the brief that called for a textured interior to match and enhance the wild landscape.
Photography: Edmon Leong