Ed Ng and Terence Ngan make Design Debut in the U.K. with the launch of Mei Ume Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, long-time collaborators at the helm of the international design studio, AB Concept, have unveiled their first project in London with the launch of Mei Ume which opened on the 9th June, setting a new standard for design restaurants in the Square Mile. Mei Ume has joined Anne Sophie-Pic’s La Dame de Pic London as the two flagship restaurants at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.
Located in the 1922 headquarters of the Port of London Authority at Ten Trinity Square, Mei Ume, which takes its name from the Chinese and Japanese words for ‘plum blossom,’ fuses Eastern and Western heritage. Originally a gateway for traders from the East to trade commodities such as tea, silks and ceramics, Ed and Terence, who work internationally within the luxury hospitality design sector, sought their inspiration for the design from the building’s history.
“We have been honoured to be trusted with a project that is rich with history and heritage. As our first project in the UK, Mei Ume at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square marks a very important milestone for us and we have thoroughly enjoyed working on keeping a legacy alive.” said Ed Ng of AB Concept. “As someone who grew up in Hong Kong, a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures, I found this project particularly interesting as it presented us with the challenge of how to represent this delicately and sensitively.”
Upon entering Mei Ume, guests are first met with an impressive screen created by using an enamel paint technique on glass with colourful plum blossoms. The screen is suspended from two metal columns encompassing the design of typical portholes that are repeatedly seen throughout the restaurant. Strategically placed at the reception, this piece fuses the two worlds – East and West – into one, allowing guests to feel as if they have entered a different era in time..
The main dining room is complete with bold red accents, a continuous theme throughout the restaurant that represents happiness and celebration in Chinese culture. The most notable feature of the restaurant and central focal point is a red lacquer frame holding an ornate three-layer gilded triptych. Each panel depicts a story and has been created through a multi-layer painting technique with glass overlays, allowing the viewer to see the work from a different perspective depending on the angle of viewing. On the opposite wall another piece of art that uses the same layer painting technique, is suspended and depicts a market scene from the Song Dynasty in China – an era of Chinese history dating back to AD 960.
As all of the original columns from the 1922 building remain intact, Ed and Terence faced the unique design challenge to preserve the original mouldings, yet reinvent them with a new spirit and purpose. Intricate metal motifs have been erected on top of each column suspending three halo structures and resulting in three cosy alcoves for diners seeking privacy. The English heritage of the Grade II listed property establishes itself in the form of custom table lamps lining the large bronze-framed windows, which face the hotel’s courtyard.
The bar is covered in a pavilion-like structure and illuminated with custom lanterns framed in black metal with patterned glass. Next to the bar is a semi-private dining space separated by hand painted panels with silk embroidery designed to look subtly modern with distinct black and white brushstrokes in the form of bamboo. The bamboo images add strength and create a poetic dining experience within a bamboo forest.
Head Chef Tony Truong, formerly of Royal China, will lead the kitchen team, supported by sushi chef Mun Seok Choi from Sake no Hana and Dim Sum Chef Derrick Chen from Yauatcha. Dishes will incorporate authentic recipes from both China and Japan with a contemporary approach and the cocktail menu is inspired by the four key elements of Chinese astronomy, in addition to an extensive selection of sake.