17 May 2021 • Bruxelles, Belgium
The Brussels-based multidisciplinary creative agency ncbham, specialised in design, branding and food experience, conceived the second outlet of Dam Sum, the finest dumplings restaurant in town, known for its xiao long bao, a Shanghainese delicacy.
Its location, Quai au Bois à Bruler, was once the city fish market and our team felt it was the right design starting point. Going all the way back to the dim sums’ country of origin, we immersed ourselves in the Shanghai fish market stalls and created this unique environment.
We chose a minimal approach: limited palette of materials, natural plaster, metal and locally sourced beech. This materiality reflects the resourcefulness developed by the traders with ephemeral structures and juxtaposed wall decorations.
The back wall of the bar is made of reused plastic crates and hand-painted upcycled glass bottles, allowing for a rich yet subtle lighting of the space.
The street art work (graffiti and stencil) completed by a Belgian artist and the natural paint come alive together and induce a raw and upbeat feeling, typical of megacities.
The salvaged baskets, the metallic and translucent corrugated sheets, the indirect lighting and the concrete walls transport you to a fictional Chinese environment, strongly anchored to both traditional and urban context.
To make the most of the space’s long and narrow proportions, we divided it into different zones: the central bar works from day to night and serves as welcoming area, the show cooking and open kitchen provide a buoyant food experience, while the various seating options offer an array of eating styles.