New York designer Xuhui Zhang has chosen minimal furnishings and mint green accents for a local Chinese modern restaurant as a conscious effort to redefine East Asian design.
Junzi Kitchen is a fast-casual cafe on a popular corner in New York‘s Greenwich Village, at the intersection of Bleeker and Sullivan streets.
The restaurant measures 1,800 square feet (167 square metres), and was overhauled by Xuhui Zhang, who is an interior designer and part of the restaurant’s small in-house team.
Using a simple colour palette and contemporary designs, Zhang aimed to create a space that honoured her culinary heritage while showing it in a new light.
The modern restaurant is light and bright, with concrete floors, white brick walls and pale wood seating. Soft green and pink colours are used for accents throughout and can be seen on the windows, table posts, tiles, and a mesh design above the bar.
According to the designer, the colour inspiration came through a childhood memory of the early spring season in Northern China, when noodles and wraps are made by families following the lunar calendar tradition.
“Mint-green against snow white, along with the warm texture of natural birch, the combination perfectly captures the look, the fresh smell and the spirit of germination and growth, which is the key to the ambience of the space”, said Zhang
To make the interior design stand out, the Junki’s team didn’t pick the safest solution to keep the original layout in black. Details inside include light wood chairs, brass pendant lights, and milky white globe bulbs. The main eating area has communal tables, a birch banquette seating upholstered with leather, and other marble cafe tables.
The interior is designed to embrace the all-time dynamic street life of Greenwich Village, which was once regarded as the paradigm of urban dwelling through Jane Jacobs’ writing.
The project combines two properties – previously a Mexican and an Italian restaurant – which were vacant for almost two years before being reconfigured into the new space.
Zhang redesigned the floor plan by ripping down existing walls and building new ones to a kitchen towards the rear, with a preparation area and dishwashing station. Also located in the back is a private dining nook and a toilet.
This modern restaurant is also a listed landmark, which posed limitations. “A set of rules regarding design proportions, colour, material use and signage had to be applied to the storefront to keep consistency with the rest of the street facade,” he said.
You might also be interested in: Get To Know New York City’s Top Hotels