Situated in the heart of downtown Taipei, Lao Wang Hot Pot seems to have inherited the streaming lights of the city. Like a torch sparkling with seduction, the restaurant’s spectral pattern creates a stage as much a visual feast as it is a culinary one. Inspired by the symbols of salt and light found in the gospel of Matthews, the design seeks to solidify and make central the most ephemeral of elements—billowing steam that signifies the coming together of people for hot pot.
In the stage lit space, light and steam intersect in infinite planes, accentuated by the blurred, translucent boundaries of glass partitions. Like so many pieces of cut crystal, these extend the space visually while partitioning it, refracting a universe of scintillating lights. A monochromatic palette gives center stage to the muted, layered depths of light itself. Low seating maintains the permeability of the space, while copper pendant lights—equal parts torch, guide, and beacon—situate the space.
Between the speckled gray of the granite tabletop, the crisscrossing of the wooden floor, and the brown fabric of the seating, the space unfolds in shades of light and shadow, at once majestic yet solemn. As visual anchor, the designers installed a wood-grain stonewall and driftwood installation on the far side of the restaurant, injecting an element of tranquility in the hubbub heart of the restaurant.
The kitchen area is visible through an elongated ribbon window, a mirror reflection of the horizontal partition of the dining area. Together, the two frame and transform the space into a stage, constantly in motion. Smoked onyx glass extend the sightline vertically, while the speckled stone floor—like so many pointillist dots—blur the sense of space and depth. In the flickering interplay of light and steam, one walks, as if entranced, into a space at once sensorial and sacred, a feast guided by not one, but all five senses.