E Studio has transformed a red-wall warehouse built in the 1990s in Guangzhou‘s Haizhu district, China, into a cat-themed cafe. With the location of Butterfield & Swire’s Godowns & Wharf, which is popular among the citizens, Meow Restaurant is not only a place for fifty lovely cats, but also for cat lovers to have parties, enjoy meals and hold pet salon.
With the concept of a sharing space for both people and cats, the challenge of this project is to keep a balance between the spaces for the two users. All the scales and designs of the project are related to cats. In response to the “forest” as the client referred to, by using an abstract design method, E Studio uses blocks and platform devices to connect different spaces instead of illustrating a real forest.
The black block at the entrance indicates the tune inside. The pinewood buffer zone offers a space for shoes-changing and hand-washing. The river, tree house and other natural features are expressed in a narrative way. Such like the terrace field in the middle of the first floor is designed in the cat’s shape. This terrace is used as seats, instead of the traditional ones, to increase the interactions between people and cats, and to hold public activities. The ups and downs of the terrace field satisfy the different behaviors of the customers and cats.
Basing on the habit of cats, which is enjoying the height, the designer inserts a tree house on the upper level to build a platform where customers could enjoy a comprehensive view. The unique pitched ceiling could satisfy both of the customers’ and the cats’ behaviors. One could take a break or enjoy a coffee inside the tree house, or just sit and overlook what is happening downstairs and enjoy every minute with cats.
The original steel-structured second floor was transformed into a dining space. There, the form of the desk vividly illustrates the stream of the forest, and the stainless steel board on the wall imitate the water ripple. The second floor enables the customers to enjoy a more comfortable and free atmosphere, where different dining spaces are organized, and the unique visual effect contributes to an unconventional experience with cats. In the exploration and development of café, the Meow Restaurant designed by E Studio reveals a modern “Cat Forest” without using any of the real trees. By applying this unique and innovative design concept, the Meow Restaurant welcomes everyone to enjoy a wonderful time with cats.