RONG HUA BAK KUT TEH
DESIGN MORPHOLOGY THROUGH GEOMETRIC ABSTRACTION
LOCATION TAGUIG CITY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES
RONG HUA BAK KUT TEH is the first authentic bak kut teh (pork rib soup) concept restaurant in Manila. Franchised from one of Singapore's oldest and most famous pork ribs shops, it is the first branch outside the country. Design morphology was derived through a careful understanding of the craft of preparing bak kut teh - abstracting the principles into an architectural experience.
Form and spatial definitions were inspired by one of the main ingredients of the soup, the star anise. The simple geometric form of the star anise was abstracted and multiplied to define the interior architecture. In addition, the simmering broth of the soup was further translated into the facade skin – architecturally represented through randomly placed brick elements.
Being the flagship branch in the Philippines, the narrative of discovering, experiencing, and enjoying the pork rib soup was translated into the configuration of spaces. This was used as basis for articulating the program layout, arranged from public to restricted access.
The interior of the restaurant is defined by an undulating ceiling accent of stained natural wood. The pattern is a visual interpretation of one of the main ingredients in preparing bak kut teh - the star anise. The ceiling accent gently slopes down opposite diagonal corners of the space, emphasizing the suppleness of the crafted wood pattern.
Walnut-veneered portals frame the walls on either side, contrasting the wood stain of the ceiling accent. Banquet-style seating occupies the right side of the restaurant. Behind it, a monochrome graphic mural pays homage to the humble beginnings of RONG HUA BAK KUT TEH. The theme of abstracted geometry is continued onto the metal shelves. The notion of simmering of broth was articulated into the restaurant’s built-up metal facade - with dissipating perforations, casting interesting shadows into the dining area. An architectural piece of experience and simulation.