Perched high-up and overlooking the city, new restaurant Penthouse has elevated hospitality interior design to new heights, writes Martine Beale.
Located on the 30th floor of Soundwill Plaza II in Causeway Bay, the recently opened Penthouse by Harlan Goldstein has just entered one of Hong Kong’s hottest new dining destinations.
The plaza, developed by the Soundwill Group, comprises eight levels of dedicated food and beverage space equipped with outdoor terraces, and is currently the host to a platter of upscale restaurants that include two by Michelin-star chef Harlan Goldstein.
Goldstein, who opened Penthouse in conjunction with business partners, World Wide Dining Group Ltd. and its Chairman and CEO, Simon To, describes the restaurant as having “a relaxed ambience amid a chic, rustic New York-style penthouse setting.”
When it comes to New York, the chef knows his onions: he was born on the Lower East Side of the city. However, bringing this aesthetic to a restaurant in Causeway Bay was handled by interior designer Kinney Chan of Kinney Chan & Associates.
The restaurant boasts a 6,800sqft interior with sweeping panoramic views across the city, and a 5,000sqft rooftop.
Before entering the establishment, visitors are greeted by the brightly illuminated Penthouse sign. Blink as you walk by and you still wouldn’t miss it.
“We created an installation rack and placed light bulbs inside the Penthouse lettering,” says designer Kinney Chan. “It resembles the traditional signs once seen outside theatre shows on Broadway.”
Inside, right next to the entrance, is an open bar on one side and an open deli-counter on the other. Both feature exposed, ceiling-hung shelves that Chan says were used to “create a homely, cosy feel”. Hanging pots and pans over the deli-counter enhance the aesthetic.
The pattern-tiled floor transitions into rich dark wood when entering the restaurant proper, and meets an interior that incorporates a fusion of industrial elements, stylish dining areas and curated furnishings.
“We used precast concrete cladding and raw iron to generate an industrial atmosphere, and various types of tiles and wood to define different areas and add visual interest,” explains Chan.
Colours are warm and neutral in the main dining area, where there is plenty to draw the eye but nothing that distracts from the absolutely spectacular views.
Some walls feature tall, open shelves that hold glasses, plates, objects of curiosity and books, which extend the feel of a welcoming, lived-in but uncluttered loft.
The banquette seating area features a wall fitted with large mirrors, so that even those seated with their backs to the view can still see it in reflection.
Tables and chairs situated along the window front are pared down to minimal elegance, while those on the outdoor terrace are more generously proportioned, perhaps to cater to a longer, more comfortable stay.
The two private VIP dining rooms are separated from the rest of the restaurant by sliding doors panelled with mirrors that reflect the cityscape outside back into the room. Decorative floor tiles stand in contrast to the raw blonde timber ceiling. Long dining tables in natural wood are accompanied by teal coloured chairs and illuminated by modern sculptural lighting.
Various types of lighting have been employed throughout the entire space: general and task-specific lighting coincide with minimalist pendants and more ornate pieces. A chandelier made from frying pans hanging over the corridor is particularly striking.
“We installed a lighting system whereby pieces in different areas could be independently dimmed to create different moods,” says the designer. He also fitted windows with simple blinds to shade diners from the abundance of natural light that floods in during the day.
One of the biggest challenges for Chan was designing the kitchen. “The kitchen consumes most of the space, so we needed to carefully consider its overall layout as well as meet the needs of all those using it, and the general flow of operations.”
All in all, Penthouse reflects Goldstein’s laid-back yet professional manner: space is minimal and functional with intriguing details, and set out to delight both the palate and the eye.
Kinney Chan & Associates