Homes & Design Photo Credit: Colin Perry

Design Crush: Inside a Vancouver Restaurant with Industrial-Jungle Cool

M8’s urban-tropical vibe finds the sweet spot between two worlds.

“This is not fusion,” warns M8’s website. It’s a dated term, to be sure, but even looking beyond the Vancouver restaurant’s pan-Asian offerings, it’s hard to deny the blending of worlds happening. Located in a primo waterfront location beneath the Burrard Bridge, this Indonesian-jungle-meets-downtown-cool, uh, mash-up is  the work of Space Harmony’s Negar Reihani.

“We wanted to create a representation of both worlds—Asian and Western—and didn’t want anything that was completely one or the other,” the designer explains. So Reihani took on the renovation with eclecticism in mind, polishing the original concrete floors and then warming up the space by bringing in natural wood. Greenery hanging from above the bar infuses the space with a tropical feel. East meets West, nature meets city.

High-backed banquette seating lines one wall; across the room, a cozy bench topped with relaxed velvet cushions faces the seawall views. Both are upholstered in a beautiful aquamarine. Deep blue felt too formal, Reihani explains, so she sourced a special distressed velvet in aqua hues. Wicker chairs round out the seating options, set around stone or wood two-tops or flanking a long, family-style raw-edge table in the centre of the room. 

High Contrast The existing bar was clad with stone, a modern counterpart to all the natural wood detailing.

The rest of the walls were finished with Venetian plaster to add a hit of texture. Of course, you may miss these details after catching a glimpse of the custom wallpaper mural by graphic designer Amy Kang: a drawing of a Chinese opera warrior who has been updated with the cheeky addition of vegetables as armour—a stem of broccolini held like a spear, a big round beet instead of a face mask. “We wanted a ‘what the hell’ element,” laughs Reihani. “We wanted to say, ‘We’re serious about the food, but we’re a little bit crazy, too.’”

Hit the Lights Sculptor Randy Zimmer crafted pendant lights out of alabaster, glowing half-moons that jut out from brass rods.

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