The design concept was to pay homage to the original Peacock Room, a James Whistler masterpiece, located in the Smithsonian, by distilling the key elements of the original, the shelves, the vases, the art, the inventive integrated lighting and even then room’s infamous history, to create a respectful contemporary re-construction in Shanghai.
The main challenge for the designers was satisfy the Client’s “more is not enough” ideology while respecting the integrity of its predecessor.
From the outset the design team strategized how to guide the visitor’s journey through the restaurant. Spaces were sequenced so that quiet spaces enabled visitors to catch their breath before entering the main spaces. Sprinkled throughout the restaurant the lighting designers created several playful and surprising gestures. An extravagance that could only happen successfully within a rigorous architectural framework.
The overall feel to the restaurant is warm and dramatic, with highlights located along each major axis to draw the visitor inside and consistently warm colour temperature lamps to create a feeling of comfort. Late into the night, the contrast increases and the lamps get warmer. Touches of monochromatic colour (a purple glow above the private dining chandelier or a deep amber glowing image in the vases) appear throughout the evening to keep the visitors stimulated.
An 8’ diameter mirror, experienced only when sitting around the Bar, transforms in the evening to become an infinity mirror ceiling made from a series of lit internal rings. Late into the evening when the bar is pumping, the illuminated rings sequences through a red to purple colour range.
A semi-private dining space anchors the other end of the main space with a large hanging glass chandelier in a cascading tiered form to counter the virtual inverted form implied above the Bar.
The main dining space is fully enclosed by ceiling and wall wrapped brass shelving. Integrated light washes in between double layered copper rods and sculpt the faces of plain white bone china vases. In the evening scenes some of these vases, strategically placed along the walls reveal concealed illuminated risqué images, poking good natured fun at the diners in reference to Whistler’s infamous vandalization of his own work out of spite for his client. A row of bespoke brass layered pendants understood as an extension of the shelving, adorn the center of the dining space providing flattering light to diners faces and crisp light on the food.
The Private Dining rooms respectfully sample but simultaneously distort the original room. Like the original the ceiling light is seen as one with the ceiling structure, providing both a wash to the leather above and providing general room light. After the diners have settled in, as part of the dining ritual, the host presses a button and part of the ceiling deconstructs and drops silently over the dining tables to create a pendant that focus light onto the food below, while leaving the uplight component intact.
The vanity of the Peacock is played out in the bathroom with the ‘over vanity’ mirror. Upon entering, the guest finds themselves in a monochromatic space. Spending too much time at the mirror pruning oneself, triggers a sensor in the bathroom, dimming the room lights and introducing an explosion of orange and amber backlighting onto the otherwise very bland tile walls
This effect is created using multiple led sources and two laser cut cylinders, one which rotates. The combination of coloured transparent acrylic and a second rotating lattice to create interference, creates the feathery shimmering look.
The overall lighting experience captures the spirit of the original while pushing into the extravagance requested by the client.