2013 Market Winner: Le Salon Croissanterie et Restaurant by 4N Architects

As the winners of the 2013 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Danny Ng, Principal at 4N Architects, talked to us about becoming interested in architecture, creating the best possible dining experience and seeing the faces of happy customers.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
I decided to become an artist or designer when I was teenager. I fell in love with design and music, and I wanted to peruse a career as a singer before I went abroad to study. Then, I became more familiar with architecture and I fell in love with it. The reason why I chose architecture is because it’s challenging nature in terms of study and work, as well as the love of combining the artistic and scientific mind-sets.

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Is there anything about this project that affected you personally?
The focus of every project is not the project itself, but the people around it, within it, and we design for them. We were very impressed and touched by the enthusiasm towards the client’s great food, Mr Tony Cheng. His dedication and determination to push for the best possible dining experience for customers, as well as the best-equipped kitchen despite its small size was remarkable. This was for the best interest of the chef and the production of best cuisine possible. We are also very grateful for the client’s trust and belief in our design team, allowing us to explore the design without many limitations and great freedom the lead and make decisions about the project design. Trust from your client is a vital element in achieving great design.

What was the happiest moment of the project?
The happiest moment is when the project was finally completed and started to operate – when we could see everyone with happy and admirable faces, most importantly from the client and their daily working team and customers. That is the moment we felt proud of the project and ourselves.

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Tell us about the selection process for this project. What do you think made them select you for this work?
We met with the client (Mr Tony Cheng) through a friend. We got floor plans and basic information about the site, and the brief concepts for creating an upscale fine dining French restaurant as well as a croissant café at the location. The site was within a newly built shopping centre, but we were not able to see the site at first. After some research and concept generations, we sat down with the client and pitched our ideas across the table. We tried new media during our presentation, using mare than simple visuals and verbal, we used a recorded background from a world-renowned teahouse in Paris. This allowed us to pass through the Parisian concept across the table with a sense of humour as well as more details.

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