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Designing a restaurant is not new for Taiwan based architect Ken Lo of Chain 10 Architecture. However, in the design of Green Isle, a third restaurant of the successful Tan Zuo Mali chain, Lo knew he had to think out-of-the-box to go further than his two previous designs for the chain. The concept of dining and green spaces needed to be rehashed in a fresh perspective in view that Kaohsiung residents who are largely environmentally-conscious, hardly afford the time to appreciate nature.
In & out dining
The project spans 5,950 square meters of surface area which allowed the creation of a relatively complete living environment encompassing both a rest and dining space. While it occupies a wide stretch of land, one site drawback is its lack of sunlight due to its surrounding heavy greenery. In the evenings, this area in Kaohsiungis relatively dark when not properly lit.
As such, the restaurant required ample illumination to create its own atmosphere and highlight its presence amidst the forest-like greenery.
Lo envisioned Green Isle as an enchanting respite where one could go to relax and rejuvenate. At the main entrance of the restaurant, a bridge was placed over the pool to accentuate the welcoming vibes as guests make way inside.
Nearby, a 120-meter landscape pool offers a visual transition between the building and soothing water.
Surrounding the property, over 250 large trees reduce the carbon emissions from the project and create the feeling of being transported to another place.
A considered eco-friendly approach
In addition to analyzing the restaurant’s service needs and finding the best economic model, significant time was spent on its environmental sustainability. Even traditionally imported materials like marble were locally sourced to reduce the carbon emissions during transport.
A large number of concrete exterior walls were barely painted, decreasing the need for excessive environmentally detrimental materials.
The use of secondary materials also directly reduced the thermal effects and energy consumption of the building. In order to respect the relationship between the building and the green environment, the decorations of the indoor dining area were simplified. There was nothing overly complex or intricate in the decorating treatments but rather a focus on simple modern choices.
The use of materials inside and outside the building takes is driven by recycling and sustainability options.
Where metal is used, most of the material is modularized, giving the client years of efficient mileage for most components.
The glass arboretum is placed in a central location along with some greenery on top of a permeable layer of soil. In addition, this enclosed and visible allows natural light indoors.
The blend of artificial and natural light source helps to blur the boundary between the interior and exterior spaces. Inside the restaurant, diners can fully enjoy the beauty of the natural environment outside.
Green Isle posed quite a challenge for Lo because, after two previous iterations, he knew that he would have to create a truly unique project that would meet the needs of the environmentally-conscious consumer. Walking around the property, it is easy to see that he has done just that. The restaurant has set the bar for what environmental sustainability should look like in a commercial restaurant space.
Photography by Moooten Studio, Qimin Wu