Dumplings in China represent much more than just a delicious dietary staple; they are a symbol of the nation’s traditional culture and century-old superstition. Eaten to welcome in the Chinese New Year and at special family occasions, dumplings are believed to bring good fortune because of their resemblance to ancient ingots, a formerly used Chinese currency. RIGI Design was commissioned to design the first flagship restaurant of high-end dumpling chain Xi Ding. Breaking away from the brand’s existing “fast-food” image, RIGI Design has used robust materials and soft, subtle tones to offer a far finer dining experience, one that draws attention to the long-standing importance of dumplings in the Chinese tradition.
Blocks of concrete-like Stucco frame the restaurant’s impressive front entrance. Panels add texture to the dramatic design; their fossil-like appearance a sign of the historical role of dumplings in China. Metal panels cut with dainty geometric shapes flank the entrance, their partial transparency adding a softer sense of mysticism to the design.
RIGI’s design of the dining area maintains a visual juxtaposition; harsh white walls and dark brown seating are offset by textured panels and marbled tabletops. All of the materials have clearly been carefully chosen to maintain design continuity. Rattan baskets, a symbol of traditional craft and design, are carefully placed at the restaurant’s entrance to emphasize Xi Ding’s skillfully homemade, fresh cuisine. Rattan is also used to panel the central block of seating booths; its varying shades of brown are congruent with chunky, wooden lampshades that dangle at differing heights from the smooth, chamfered ceiling. Half-hidden by metal panels, the lampshades float mysteriously above the tables.
Traditional Chinese characters from Xi Ding’s logo hang on the wall on display between symmetrical rows of white, sculpted dumplings and dinner sets. The composition is almost skeletal, reminiscent of an age-old fossil. RIGI has also designed marine-inspired wave patterns lit up by blue, wall-wash lighting to emphasize Xi Ding’s star dish, “the seafood dumpling”.
By using traditional, rustic elements, complimentary materials and modern techniques, RIGI has redefined the simple, delicate, traditional and oriental spirit of Xi Ding. By innovating the style of Xi Ding dumpling stores RIGI Design has explored a new approach to the brand’s development and created a beautifully designed ode to the history of the traditional Chinese dumpling.
L5027-B, Pavilion Dalian
No. 129-3, Zhongshan Road
Dalian City, Xigang District
Liaoning Province, China
Contributor: Ruby Weatherall
Images Courtesy of Zi-Min Liu, RIGI Design