The design inspiration derives from the building being a window to the Eastern culture, as it was originally a gateway for merchants from the east and west to trade teas, pure silks, and mannerisms.
Located in the 1922 headquarters of the Port of London Authority at Ten Trinity Square, Mei Ume, which takes its name from the Chinese and Japanese words for ‘plum blossom,’ fuses Eastern and Western heritage. Originally a gateway for traders from the East to trade commodities such as tea, silks, and ceramics, Ed and Terence, who work internationally within the luxury hospitality design sector, sought their inspiration for the design from the building’s history.
“We have been honoured to be trusted with a project that is rich with history and heritage. As our first project in the UK, Mei Ume at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square marks a very important milestone for us and we have thoroughly enjoyed working on keeping a legacy alive,” said Ed Ng of AB Concept. “As someone who grew up in Hong Kong, a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures, I found this project particularly interesting as it presented us with the challenge of how to represent this delicately and sensitively.”
The main dining room is complete with bold red accents, a continuous theme throughout the restaurant that represents happiness and celebration in Chinese culture. The most notable feature of the restaurant and central focal point is a red lacquer frame holding an ornate three-layer gilded triptych. Each panel depicts a story and has been created through a multi-layer painting technique with glass overlays, allowing the viewer to see the work from a different perspective depending on the angle of viewing. On the opposite wall another piece of art that uses the same layer painting technique, is suspended and depicts a market scene from the Song Dynasty in China – an era of Chinese history dating back to AD 960.
As all of the original columns from the 1922 building remain intact, Ed and Terence faced the unique design challenge to preserve the original mouldings, yet reinvent them with a new spirit and purpose. Intricate metal motifs have been erected on top of each column suspending three halo structures and resulting in three cosy alcoves for diners seeking privacy. The English heritage of Grade II listed property establishes itself in the form of custom table lamps lining the large bronze-framed windows, which face the hotel’s courtyard.
Project: Mei Ume at Four Seasons
Location: London, UK
Design Studio: AB Concept
Photo Credits: Owen Raggett