Dine underwater in Norway, beneath a ceiling of butterflies in Bangkok, amidst kinetic planetary spheres in Bulgaria or immersed in virtual reality nature in Tokyo with the most stunning modern restaurant designs of 2017. Some people say ambiance is just as integral to the overall enjoyment of a meal as the food itself, and these 14 new restaurant interiors from around the world offer multi-sensory delights ranging from the understated and sophisticated to the wild and unexpected.
The Iron Fairies Underground Bar Full of Butterflies by Ashley Sutton
A curious underground den with three locations in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo, ‘The Iron Fairies’ by Ashley Sutton Design feels like something out of a movie with its dim blacksmith-forge-inspired furniture, hanging bundles of herbs and an incredible ceiling installation covered in 10,000 preserved butterflies. More intimate rooms are located inside old furnaces.
Romola in Madrid by Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation
Slotting seamlessly into a midcentury building in Milan, ‘Romola’ by Andrés Jack is a marbled masterpiece in pale greens and pinks, with a stunning geometric ceiling installation complementing the luxurious floors. Triangles of marble dangle overhead, creating a sort of ‘tent’ below the high industrial ceiling with plants hanging between the panels.
Worlds Unleashed And Then Connecting: Interactive Installation in Tokyo by Teamlab
Japanese collective Teamlab created one of their signature interactive experiences inside Tokyo’s Saga Beef Restaurant SAGAYA Ginza with unforgettable results. “When a dish is placed on the table, the scenic world contained with the dish is unleashed, unfolding onto the table and into the surrounding space,” they explain. “For example, a bird painted on a ceramic dish is released from the dish and can perch on the branch of a tree that has been unleashed from a different dish.”
Underwater Restaurant in Norway by Snøhetta
A monolithic structure looks like it has broken off into the ocean after some sort of apocalyptic event, resulting in its glass-fronted facade pointing deep into the water. But it’s no accident. Architecture firm Snøhetta has designed Europe’s first underwater restaurant set along the Norwegian coastline by the village of Båly. ‘Under’ will double as a marine research center, and over time, its concrete shell will encourage mollusks to latch on, creating an artificial mussel reef.
Koi Cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam by Farming Studio
This charming cafe in a three-story Hanoi residence is centered upon an indoor koi pond, with water raining down into it all the way from the top level. Vietnamese design firm Farming Studio used recycled wood from the original site to create a warm and rustic ceiling and custom tables looking out onto the water. The koi tank is a closed-cycle system using waste from the fish in the aquarium to support the lush green roof of the cafe.