A Striking Restaurant Inspired by Flowing Water at Its Hot Springs Locale

With curves and airiness similar to the refurbished TWA terminal at JFK airport, the tranquil Spring Feast restaurant offers a breathtaking escape to enjoy a meal. Located in Chaohu, a popular destination for tourists in Eastern China, the restaurant is part of the Bantang Hot Springs, which became the inspiration for the design. Ippolito Fleitz Group set out to translate the surrounding waters into a dynamic space for diners to experience when visiting the springs.

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants

While researching for this project, Ippolito Fleitz Group came upon a piece of writing from the Ming Period mentioning the hot springs:

“The mountain has two springs, one cold and one hot. At the start of their descent, hot and cold are still separate. As they mix, the fish, sensing the rise in temperature, leave the hot stream.”

The designers translated it into how diners would enter the space, starting on the upper level, and leading to two paths that meet in the restaurant. There’s a direct path down a wide staircase and a slower one leads visitors by a lounge that offers dynamic views of the restaurant from above.

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants and curvy staircase

Organic curves are seen from every angle, even on the exterior, paying homage to the surrounding natural landscape. A deeper look reveals cave-like niches similar to those inside mountains where spring water is sourced.

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces, a wall of windows, and a forest of plants

A massive arched window wall on the front highlights views of the outside, keeping diner’s feeling they are amongst nature. The natural environment doesn’t stop on the exterior as the designers have incorporated various types of biophilic design, including the green plants see throughout.

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants

For those with limited time, a coffee bar resides in the middle of the space, operated only by a small robot.

interior shot looking down at massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants

Walls, ceilings, and pathways mimic the fluidity of the flowing water. Paired with the undulating white surfaces are green plants of all sizes and species. The floor displays a bi-color texture of earth tones that denote the walkways and seating areas.

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants

interior shot of restaurant in China with curvy white walls and wood floor

restaurant interior of massive white hallway

interior shot of massive restaurant with undulating white surfaces and a forest of plants

exterior shot of hot springs restaurant with undulating roof line and wall of windows

exterior shot of hot springs restaurant with undulating roof line and wall of windows

Photos courtesy of Ippolito Fleitz Group.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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