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Pizza 4P’s founder Yosuke Masuko established the restaurant in Vietnam in 2011, offering authentic pizza with house-made cheese and following the compassionate mindset of Japanese hospitality, ‘Omotenashi’. For the brand’s first location in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Red Design created a concept that drew inspiration from new Khmer architecture — the mid-century architectural movement that blended elements of the modern movement with the Cambodian vernacular.

Beside nodding to aspects of heritage architecture, the design also looked to the future. Pizza 4P’s challenged the design team to create a zero waste restaurant that follows the ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ mindset. Through a series of partnerships with innovative Cambodian recycling companies and makers, the zero waste concept came to life. The resulting design combines the poetry of heritage with the pragmatism of sustainability to create a compelling story that reveals itself at various points in the customer journey.

A robust structure punctuated by recycled furniture
One of the main characteristics of new Khmer architecture is the expression of assertive structures, typically in concrete, which creates rhythm and an interplay of light and shadow. The Red Design team interpreted this bold structure to deliver a robust identity and sense of cohesion across Pizza 4P’s façade and interior. Ultimately, this expressive framework can hold the zero waste principles at a smaller scale and in a way that doesn’t detract from the dining experience.

For one thing, the principle of recycling is evident from the customer’s first interaction with the space: the brass entrance signage is made — by local studio
andkow&co — from melted down Cambodian bombs and empty cartridge cases. As well as reflecting the zero waste approach, the signage evokes the eatery’s vision to ‘make the world smile for peace’. Other recycled features include the chairs and banquette made from composite plastic material, a countertop formed from collected glass bottles, and partitions sourced from reused steel rebar. The recycled furniture results from a collaboration with local specialists plastic people and GOMI recycle.

A transparent + collaborative approach to zero waste design
Shaping the physical dining space is only part of the plan; the day-to-day operations are an equally important facet of the zero waste approach. That’s why Red Design chose to locate the ‘garage room’ – a recycling hub – in the heart of the restaurant. This room offers receptacles for 20 different types of recycling and is accessible to the customer for pure transparency. Beside collating packaging for recycling, the garage room also stores food waste from both the cooking process and customer leftovers. The leftover pizza dough, for example, is fed to crickets to produce organic fertilizer (and even a dried cricket snack!).

‘The Pizza 4P’s Phnom Penh store is both a formal design exercise and an experiment in new thinking about sustainability. By partnering with local businesses which offer real cradle-to-grave solutions to waste, and by making this process transparent, inclusive, and even poetic, we hope that the store offers a captivating customer experience while becoming an exemplar in sustainable restaurant development in the region,‘ concludes Red Design.

Architecture: Red Design / Mike McGirr
Collaborators: andkow&co, plastic people, GOMI recycle
All images courtesy of Red Design

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