Reclaimed by Nature

The ‘biophilia’ trend is blooming in Xiamen’s industrial district
Posted January 29, 2018

Perched like a glittering oasis in a once crumbling industrial zone, Yaoyue Restaurant contrasts with the cacophonous city beyond its walls. It’s a haven of quiet nature – an escape from busy metropolitan life.

When Xiamen Fancy Design & Decoration Co. (Xiamen, China) took on the challenge of transforming this place, it was with a fusion of landscapes in mind. “One day, this abandoned terrace with the most beautiful sunlight cast across the windows leaped into the designers’ line of sight,” says Fang Guoxi, designer, Xiamen Fancy Design & Decoration Co. “[He] realized then that [he] could create a space combining the most pure elements of nature with raw industrial style.”

The restaurant is located in a cultural-creative park in Huli District, Xiamen, China, which has been entirely rebuilt. “It made sense to borrow the surrounding industrial style for the restaurant and integrate it with natural light and plant life,” Zeng Canfang, designer, Xiamen Fancy Design & Decoration Co., says.. “Our company built the terrace, so we didn’t face any challenges in designing and completing the project. But something that really surprised us was the light and shadow floating through the space.”

The restaurant is laid out in an L-shape, affording diners a variety of views. Bamboo, twisting vines and metal fencing are strewn throughout the space, casting sunlight into shadow as time and weather shifts. According to the designers, bamboo symbolizes the Chinese spirit that the kitchen’s food also embodies.

The subtle design is expressed in a color palette of muted browns and grays. An open skylight with a tree reaching for the heavens makes a striking centerpiece, while dramatic smoke-inspired partitions and twinkling lights lend an other-worldly feel as darkness falls. “We believe natural style should not merely be a decoration or element of the restaurant, it should be the overarching theme,” says Canfang. “People are born in nature and live surrounded by nature generation after generation, so the design must reflect that. We planted climbing vines and tropical trees inside the restaurant, which have become one with the space.”

There’s plenty of greenery outside, too, surrounded by terrace seating and a tumbling water feature that adds yet another of nature’s elements to this fusion restaurant’s aesthetic. As eclectic as the dishes it serves, Yaoyue’s finish perfectly encapsulates the harmonious integration of the great outdoors that Chinese design strives for.


Yaoyue Restaurant, Huli District, Xiamen, China

Xiamen Fancy Design & Decoration Co. Ltd., Xiamen, China

Photography: Wu Yongchang