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Man Chao Hui by Various Associates | A Modern Luxury Catering Space in an Oriental Context


Man Chao Hui is a top-notch restaurant that serves superior Chinese seafood hot pot, situated in an upscale commercial complex beside Shenzhen Bay. It provides upscale, luxury catering services to elites in the city. "Chinese style", "luxury", "exquisite", "private", "wealth", "auspicious", "lively" and "classy" are 8 key words given by the client for conceiving the restaurant. Inspired by seafood that the restaurant mainly serves, Various Associates imagined the space based on the concept "a wooden boat hidden in the sea", trying to lead diners to an immersive journey.

Photographed by SFAP

Various Associates conceived each space by drawing on traditional Chinese gold, red, green and purple colors, which have different connotations. The mix of the four strong colors with different materials form a unique world of color.

Occupying an area of merely about333 square meters, the overall space needed to accommodate dining rooms, bar counter, booth area, pantry, and bathrooms, etc. As the space is mainly meant for entertaining, the design firstly needed to meet the requirements for setting multiple private dining rooms. Meanwhile, it had to organize diversified functions in the limited space with an uncramped spatial pattern.

For the spatial layout, Various Associates focused on breaking the stereotype of conventional restaurant dining rooms and creating unique experiences. Through pondering and analyzing the circulation and materials, the design team created diverse experiences and weakened the cramped feeling in the space.


The facade structures can rotate and open like cabin doors, revealing the interior atmosphere from different angles. The door leafs of the booth seats area are opened laterally, subtly introducing the view from the outside space. Passers-by are attracted by the lively and boisterous air of the restaurant.

The long, dim passage shows a sense of mystery, and the wooden walls feature warm textures.

The small private booth seats provide a sense of security, and the calming lighting makes people forget the passage of time.

As people walking ahead, the gradient of structures and the folding ceiling subtly broaden or focus the field of vision, hence bringing a unique spatial experience.

The calming wood tone, moderate lighting and refreshing green plants create various classy and tastefully exquisite scenes in the space. Behind the door is a gorgeous mirrored world.

Multiple doors with the same form show up gradually along the way forward, and each one is decorated with Malus Spectabilis (Chinese crabapple) flower patterns in different colors.


Elements full of contrasting tension are matched in a playful manner, presenting strong characteristics and creating unique identity for each space.

Traditional Oriental elements like pine bonsai, table lamps, screens and floral patterns are mixed and echo each other through mirrors, making diners feel like they're in a Chinese courtyard mansion. In contrast, the materials show a strong modern touch, colliding yet integrating with traditional materials.

4 colors

Defined by different colors and materials, the private dining rooms are given distinct spatial identity and expected to convey symbolic meaning.

Red - auspiciousness & good luck

With the pure red hue matched with reflections of the mirrored screens, the purple velvet sofa, and the floor tiles with customized patterns, various colors and materials fuse together, hence imbuing the space with a rich sense of layering and texture.

Green - vitality & freshness

Green indicates vitality and freshness. It is the foundation of upscale food, and represents health and energy.

Gold - wealth & royalty

As an ancient Chinese saying goes that "gold begets Yin and Yang", gold color is regarded as the master of all colors. The largest dining room set at the center is dominated by gold color, appearing magnificent yet understated.

The independent bathroom in each dining room continues the tone of the room.

Purple - propotiousness & nobleness

As a color for propitious omens since ancient China, purple symbolizes propotiousness and nobleness.

Oriental symbols

For this project, Various Associates hoped to convey the contrast and tension generated through inheritance of traditions and creation. "Space is always a place where stories begin."

The Malus Spectabilis flower patterns are derived from traditional Chinese lattice windows, and are presented in the space with new forms and materials, helping enhance the space's identity and playfulness. In this way, traditional elements are given new vitality and a sense of ritual through new design interpretations.

Koi fish is a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness in Chinese culture. Vivid koi fish patterns are applied to various materials such as the floor tiles and furniture upholstery fabrics customized for the project.

50 materials

The designers drew on and reinterpreted Chinese elements such as "Malus Spectabilis" and "Koi Fish", to respond to the reunion and joyful atmosphere in traditional catering culture, and Oriental aesthetics as well. Moreover, the team utilized more than 50 materials and colors in the 300-square-meter space.

The diversity of materials is not necessarily related to the spatial scale. The emotions expressed by pure spatial aesthetics and diverse spatial layers vary fundamentally. For this project, we needed to create a stronger and richer spatial atmosphere to satisfy the client's requirements. Beyond that, we hoped to demonstrate the exquisiteness of the space, playfulness in fixed settings, an ever-lasting aesthetic system, and diversified expressions in an Oriental context.


People gather together to enjoy fancy food, drinks and scenes in this mysterious yet colorful environment, and return with full content. The light pillars and the way they come will guide them back out of the restaurant.


The design needed to balance multiple materials and break the “monotonous circulation and experience”of conventional private dining rooms, and to organize an uncramped layout in the limited space and bring various unique spatial experiences. Besides, it had to create a series of spatial scenes relevant to seafood, produce a dining atmosphere suitable for fixed hot-pot round tables, and give each dining room a distinctive spatial character, so as to create an inclusive, free and eternal aesthetic in the space. All of the above posed great challenges to the design team.

"Chinese style", "luxury", "exquisite", "private", "wealth", "auspicious", "lively" and "classy" are 8 key words mentioned by the client to define the restaurant. Through creative design, Various Associates created a distinctive restaurant that meets expectations.

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