AMMO Restaurant & Bar
Wednesday 07 May 2014


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The Hong Kong Asia Society commissioned renowned New York-based Architects Todd Williams and Billie Tsien to create a landmark building as a home for their new headquarters. The result is a magnificent architectural feat and an opportunity for unique and creative interior experiment.

Built by the British army in the mid-19th century, the former explosives magazine compound is a culturally and historically significant site. The AMMO restaurant not only references its prestigious context but pays tribute to it aesthetically and conceptually.

With such a significant site comes inspiration drawn from a significant film noir masterpiece, Alphaville, a French science fiction film directed by Jean-Luc Godard in the 1960s. Not only is the cinematography noteworthy for interior inspiration, the plot of freedom fighters removing themselves from a world of sci-fi dystopia and dictatorship of Alphaville chimes with the military history of the site.

The central feature of the space is a set of three sculptural spiral staircase chandeliers constructed purely out of copper plumbing pipes. The shades of the chandeliers are crafted out of bent copper mesh and rods. These raw materials reference those used in military and industrial settings. The spiral staircase is a recurring theme within the Alphaville film. Within the restaurant, Joyce Wang have utilised it to draw the viewer’s attention to the 6 metres high ceiling as well as to create a dramatic and dynamic effect within the space.

The bunker-like ceiling is supported by copper ribs and lit warmly to further reference the explosives magazine history. Diners will find themselves in a space that begs them to question the significance of its context. Under careful study of materials and detailing, the diners will be rewarded with clues as to ascertain the site’s history. Luxurious materials such as leather, velvet and silk were chosen to offset the hard-edged custom fixtures and detailing found in the design.