Modern day diners expect more than just new palate sensations and to impress the discerning, restaurateurs have taken interior design as seriously as their kitchen kungfu.
RAW in Taipei shows how ‘molten’ wood can be when it comes to creating a soft, warm ambience for the evening meal.
Practicality without compromising aesthetics: The wooden forms and the sculptural wine counter conceal storage areas.
RAW is sometimes lauded the best restaurant in Taipei. It is hard to get a reservation, but if you do, note how Andre Chiang’s artistic vision for food is translated into a design that reflects his artistic and minimalistic creations.
In RAW, wood is used in its pure state. The organic wooden forms are made up of locally-sourced spruce blocks joined together by local carpenters with techniques used in shipbuilding. The design was prepared using 3D modeling software; the 3D data was used to determine the tool paths for the CNC machine.
Zones are demarcated through transitions in floor materials and the positioning of wooden elements.
The central wooden sculpture, a wine bar, is held up in position with double anchor points on each node. It was designed to be seismic resistant.
The central wooden sculpture, a 65-metre long wine bar is held up with double anchor points on each node. Since Taipei lies in an earthquake-prone region, the structure was reinforced with steel and lateral bracing in order to tackle the lateral swing in the event of a tremor.
The design reflects the essence of RAW’s cuisine which is organic and natural. It incorporates fine, subtle details of meticulous craft complemented by a subdued and minimal material palette. Concrete walls and copper light fixtures minimise distraction, allowing the chef’s creation to take centre stage.
The two wooden islands are not only visually appealing, they also serve a practical purpose: They guide the flow of spaces in between, eliminating the ‘boxy’ feeling usually associated with partitioned areas.
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Area: 4,500 sqf
Completion: Oct 2014
This article was first published in Wood in Architecture Issue 1/2018