DIN TAI FUNG: I’LL TAKE TWO
Exhibition dumpling kitchen and chefs, Costa Mesa, California (photo by Gregg Segal)
For Michelin-rated restaurant, Din Tai Fung, Poon Design Inc. designed two locations, fit for what the The New York Times has called, “one of the Top Ten Restaurants in the World.” Our architecture showcases the essence of Chinese craft with thoroughly modern and seductively detailed spaces.
Though the Taiwanese clients possessed an appreciation for Asian design, this husband-wife team did not seek the predictably themed Chinese restaurant. Meaning, no golden dragons, no cartoonish calligraphy and no red silk curtains.
The cuisine at Din Tai Fung inspired Poon Design. Over 50,000 dumplings are painstakingly made each day per location. By hand.
Our architectural response is this: craftsmanship of elemental materials such as wood and stone, interpreted through contemporary fabrication.
At both California projects, South Coast Plaza in Coast Mesa and The Americana at Brand in Glendale, our centerpiece is the exhibition kitchen, which puts the artistry of the chefs on theatrical display. A circular design motif takes a cue from the bamboo steamers used to prepare the dumplings. A wood ceiling of halo-lit circles extends from the exhibition kitchen, folding down as a display wall of ceremonial vessels—from which the restaurants take their name: din (vessels). The circular theme repeats in milled white oak sheets laminated between layers of glass comprising the kitchen windows.
The dramatic restaurant walls of stone slabs and wood planks contrast the highly detailed CNC-cut wood screens and water jet-cut, powder-coated aluminum panels. Dense patterns at the bottom of these screens provide privacy, while open patterns at the top allow in natural light.
At 8,300 square feet and 200 seats, the Costa Mesa location features a lounge area of honed sandstone and Walnut plywood skylights, a dining room with a Turrell-inspired elliptical dome, walnut furniture custom designed by Poon Design, and a patio under a muscular steel canopy. Emanating from the exhibition kitchen, the shaped plaster ceiling echoes our restored 1960’s sculptural entry pavilion.
At 7,000-square-foot and 170 seats, the Glendale location additionally features heavily grained Oak planks, brass inlay Chinese characters, Juno limestone, black porcelain flooring, and custom oak and leather furniture.
Poon Design explores artistry and craft, with our architecture also combining old and new. We acknowledge the legacy of the past, while embracing an exciting future.