HaiDiLao Hot Pot



The restaurant is part of a successful hot pot restaurant chain in China, which is expanding to the US market. No design brief was provided, other than taking the concept and designing for an American customer.

The restaurant is located on the second floor of a busy outdoor mall in Irvine, California, with many food options. The location created the biggest challenges for the design. Although the restaurant chain has its loyal followers, due to high quality food and good service, an environment had to be created to drew attention and bringing curious patrons to the second floor.

The restaurant's layout is fixed, as each table has an opening in the center that holds the pot with the hot broth. Steam is being generated that needs to exhaust to the outside. Since there is no grease that would require a hood system, the ventilation is a downdraft system. Since the space is on the second floor, the ductwork could not run underground or through the restaurant below. The tables had to be put in a row and connected. At the end of each row is a shaft that brings the duct and exhaust to the ceiling, where it's directed to the outside.

The layout is a rigid grid. A white metal trellis connects the columns/shafts in both direction. The flooring material is organized in the same grid and changes colors to highlight the organization of the columns.

Instead of trying to make the columns disappear, they become a focal point by cladding them in a playfully patterned tile. The colors are inspired by Chinese pottery. One of the references to the origin of the food concept and the restaurant owners.

The bold wallcovering is inspired by a traditional Chinese pattern. The scale and colors were chosen to balance the columns presence. The rest of the materials and finishes were kept neutral to bring calm to the bold patterns and colours.


Website Menu