United States   |  2020

MUSE Design Awards Silver Winner

Gem Dining

Entrant Company

Studio Unltd

Category

Interior Design

Client's Name

Viet Nguyen

Sub-Category

Restaurants

The juxtaposition of old and new that characterizes Saigon's urban fabric informs the eclectic style of Gem. Brought to life by chef Viet Nguyen’s vivid stories and his heartfelt fondness for the chaotic beauty found there, the lush and layered streetscape of this old city provided a rich resource for inspiration. The material palette plays warm and natural materials like hickory, amber glass and corten against the industrial influence of board-formed concrete and expanded metal mesh and steel. Cables and cable-mounted lighting criss-cross the space above the dining room, bringing to mind the discord of urban streets. Multiple layers of light add drama and depth to the room by making important features pop and by emphasizing the highly textured surfaces throughout. Bold, angular lines are softened by unexpected moments of greenery in the form of plant shelves mounted on high to create a verdant perimeter and terrarium-inspired encased plantings. The focal point of the space is an angular black steel structure that frames out the bar, the shape and scale of which alludes to the eclectic patchwork of buildings on display in crowded cities across Southeast Asia. From behind the bar, a jewel-like lighting installation of back-lit amber glass fills the space with a warm and welcoming glow.

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