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Interior Design Magazine November 2018

Hotshots, emerging designers to look out for in 2019

Spacemen goes bold and experiential with landmarked Shanghai eatery Icha Chateau

The Midas Touch

When deciding on a name for the firm he found in 2014, designer Edward Tan, now 31, went with Spacemen. He was always thinking about space, after all. But the futuristic reference also links to the firm’s aesthetic: bold and experiential, particularly apparent in the studio’s hos­pitality projects. One such is Icha Chateau, a Western fusion restaurant and teahouse in Shanghai. Spacemen was challenged to create an eye-catching exterior but without adding so much as a nail to the brick facade—the 19th-century former villa is landmarked.

Edward’s solution came in the form of brushed anodised brass. Inserted into one of the building’s colonial-era arches fronted by an existing window are strips of the metal moulded into a cage-like form and lined with LEDs. It serves to draw passersby into the bar inside. Additional brass panels frame the building’s other archways and windows.

Inside, the Spacemen weren’t burdened by preservation re­quirements for the 1,800 square feet. In fact, the main intervention was so unique, “Even our contractors weren’t sure what the final result would look like,” Edward recalls. Hanging from the ceiling at varied lengths are more than 20 miles of aluminium chain that’s been finished in three shades of gold. Although glamorous, almost other-worldly, Edward cite the rolling tea fields that dot the Chinese countryside as inspiration.


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