IN PHOTOS: Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh’s Design Concept

Franchised from one of Singapore's oldest and most famous pork ribs shops, it is the first branch outside the country.

  • October 4, 2019

  • Written by Architects of Habulan And Ngo Design Studio (HANDS) Co.

  • Images courtesy of Habulan And Ngo Design Studio (HANDS) Co.

Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh is the first authentic bak kut teh (pork rib soup) concept restaurant in Manila. It was designed by Habulan and Ngo Design Studio (HANDS) Co.
Design morphology was derived through a careful understanding of the craft of preparing bak kut teh abstracting the principles into an architectural experience.
Form and spatial definitions were inspired by one of the main ingredients of the soup, the star anise. The simple geometric form of the star anise was abstracted and multiplied to define the interior architecture. In addition, the simmering broth of the soup was further translated into the façade skin architecturally represented through randomly placed brick elements.
Being the flagship branch in the Philippines, the narrative of discovering, experiencing, and enjoying the pork rib soup was translated into the configuration of spaces.
The narrative was used as a basis for articulating the program layout, arranged from public to restricted access.
The initial ceiling pattern was derived from the multiplicity of a single unit of star anise.
The pattern was then distorted to break monotony and add character to the ceiling.
This visual shows the ceiling pattern in its spatial context, intended to be a main design feature of the restaurant.
The notion of simmering of broth was articulated into the restaurant’s built-up metal façade with dissipating perforations, casting interesting shadows into the dining area.
The interior of the restaurant is defined by an undulating ceiling accent of stained natural wood. The pattern is a visual interpretation of the star anise, one of the main ingredients in preparing bak kut teh.
The ceiling accent gently slopes down opposite diagonal corners of the space, emphasizing the suppleness of the crafted wood pattern.
Walnut-veneered portals frame the walls on either side, contrasting the wood stain of the ceiling accent.
Banquet-style seating occupies the right side of the restaurant. Behind it, a monochrome graphic mural pays homage to the humble beginnings of Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh.
The lighted bar counter illuminates the restaurant’s interiors, exuding a sense of warmth and sophistication.
The theme of abstracted geometry is continued onto the metal shelves. Along with the bronze mirror behind, the shelves reflect light back to the dining area.
The simple black pendant lights are reminiscent of the hawker stalls in Singapore.
Roh Hua Bak Kut Teh is located at Unit A-102 Mckinley West Park, Taguig.
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