Faced with the ever-competitive dining and lifestyle landscapes serving Asia’s trendy urbanites, architects are going to new lengths to create standout experiences. For a recent wave of cafes and restaurants, this means taking guests to another world entirely.
Nota Architects helps popular independent Shanghai chain Seesaw Coffeeevoke a trek through an ethereal nature retreat in its newest location in a Beijing shopping mall. To reach the cafe counter, patrons must walk along a stone pathway set within a Japanese-style rock garden. Lush foliage and mossy boulders protrude from the neatly raked gravel, occasionally enveloped in white fog from a hidden smoke machine, while cherry blossoms hang overhead. Wooden decks and seating complete the atmospheric space, which also blends into a bookstore.