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Local Finds: Fish School

Paola Sinisterra and Ignacio Garcia bring a funky aesthetic to Fish School through a combination of warm hues and custom-made furnishings. Christie Lee writes.

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BY Janice Seow

November 12th, 2015


Once the exclusive haunt of dried seafood stores, cha chaan tengs and traditional Chinese dessert shops, Sai Ying Pun appears to be buzzing of late, with a new restaurant, cafe or bar opening almost every fortnight. The latest venture to take up shop in the neighbourhood is Yenn Wong and David Lai’s Fish School.

The interiors of this 50-person eatery, located just off Third Street, was designed by Paola Sinisterra and Ignacio Garcia of Tangram.

With Fish School’s mission – to source locally – in mind, the designers have conjured a space that is cosy and intimate, with visual cues that reference a local wet market.

A light box sign leads patrons past a wall of rubber trees and various plant species native to Hong Kong to the reception.

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The layout centres around the open kitchen, where the chefs and bartenders work their magic from behind the counters, and diners get to enjoy a clear view of the tanks that house the fresh catches of the day.

Reminiscent of the sea, blue is the colour du jour, incarnated as various shades on the furnishings, walls and staff attire. The oak plywood wall cladding takes its inspiration from the wooden crates that are used to transport fresh fish from the sea to the wet markets.

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Tables were custom-made to have rounded edges and a smooth satiny finish, while the warm-toned ceramics were developed with Hong Kong-based FlowPlus Ceramics.

Rocky Yip and James Woodward Jr of Entendre Studios are tasked with animating the ever-changing menu board with drawings of different fish species.

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The private dining room is similarly plush. Seating 20, three green tables reference underwater textures. One wall features a gold leaf silhouette of Sai Kung, paying homage to what used to be one of the city’s most vibrant fishing villages. A window grants views to one of Hong Kong’s oldest masonry walls, the remnants of a tree root still hanging off it.