Monmono Blue: A Surreal Monochrome Restaurant and Gallery

Alvan Suen's Award-Winning Design Blends Vintage Scenes and Monochrome Harmony

Monmono Blue, a restaurant and gallery designed by Alvan Suen, offers a surreal monochrome experience. The design, inspired by the concept of a city built in a single color, creates a provocative contrast with the bustling, colorful cityscape of Hong Kong. The project, awarded Silver in A' Interior Space, Retail and Exhibition Design Award in 2023, merges various vintage scenes into a single blue space, creating a unique art piece in the city.

Monmono Blue is more than a restaurant; it's a gallery and an art piece. The entire shop is finished in regal blue, providing a novel and surreal feeling of being in an art world. The design incorporates scenes reminiscent of a casino in the US, a hotel in the UK, retail in France, and a piazza in Rome, turning the entire shop into a movie scene. A key feature is a vintage car, offering an interesting sense of stop motion. The monochrome style allows for harmony between different eras and styles.

The project was realized using a light temperature of 6000K, rarely used in restaurants, to prevent the blue space from greening out. Most construction elements were pre-fabricated in the factory and installed on-site for precise finishing and efficient workflow. Custom-made materials, such as terrazzo for the tables, were used to match the color tone. The design process heavily relied on computer rendering for testing different materials and calculating lux and color temperature for all lighting.

The layout of the restaurant has been divided into four sections: a private room (Hotel), a semi-private room (Retail), a high stool table (Casino), and the main dining area (Piazza). This arrangement provides diversity to the space and clear zoning for operation. Each side of the main dining area and independent rooms has its own service sideboard, designed to be hidden in the scenes with good accessibility for operation flow. The cashier was decorated as one of the feature scenes next to the exit door.

One of the challenges faced in the design was creating contrast in a monochrome style. The use of different textures of materials, lighting, and the use of dark and bright became extra important. The choices of material were also limited, and the sourcing of materials for glass, paint, leather, terrazzo, and curtain with similar colors relied heavily on the products and stock of the material suppliers.

The Monmono project is also a huge art project that aims to insert each single-color restaurant into different parts of the city. The strong brand identity has successfully attracted a lot of people to visit and get to know more about monochrome as an art form as well as the artists' works. The artwork to be exhibited in Monmono has to be in monochrome style while the artist's own style is maintained.

In conclusion, Monmono Blue is a unique blend of art, architecture, and design. It's a space that not only serves as a restaurant and gallery but also as an art piece in itself. The monochrome design, coupled with vintage scenes, creates a surreal and engaging experience for visitors. It's a testament to Alvan Suen's innovative approach to design and his ability to create a harmonious blend of different styles and eras.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Alvan Suen
Image Credits: Photographer: Yui Zhu
Project Team Members: Alvan Suen
Project Name: Monmono Blue
Project Client: Alvan Suen

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