To make this Shanghai restaurant feel like a retro American diner, Chinese studio Neri&Hu added bold tiles and an angular roof that overhangs a foldable glazed facade. Located in the former French Concession, Rachel’s Burger restaurant was envisaged as “a porous space” that can be completely opened up onto Wukang Road.
Taking the Modernist shapes of 1950s diner restaurants as a reference, Neri&Hu introduced a chunky roof that projects over the glazed exterior walls that can be completely folded away. The interior of the restaurant is also visually extended by a series of mirrored panels that reflect views from outside.
During the day, glass panels in the roof allow natural light to flood the space. At night, the restaurant is illuminated by custom-made glass pendants hanging over the dining tables. Hand-painted concrete tiles are used throughout the restaurant, extending up from the floor to cover the sides of podiums that support tabletops.
The bold pattern also echoes the chequerboard tiles often used in typical American diners. All seating and eating surfaces, including large communal tables with pivoting benches, were custom-made by the studio using steel and walnut.