la viola


sai ying pun, Hong Kong

spawton architecture     2015

Client: Violet Group


La Viola was one of the first Western restaurants in Sai Ying Pun, located in the desirable podium level of Island Crest residence on Second Street. Following the opening of the Centre Street escalator and the sudden gentrification of the area, the venue was under intense competition from other bars and restaurants, and so La Viola was in need of re-branding and extensive renovation. 

Spawton Architecture was commissioned to bring new life to the restaurant and give it a fresh, contemporary new image. Picking up on the relaxed atmosphere of the neighbourhood and the generous verdant public space outside, we developed a spatial concept for the dining room. A green plywood louvered ceiling forms a metaphorical tent or the pitched roof of an Italian villa, reflected in a graduated mirror giving the impression of symmetry and a glimpse of nature in the distance. 

With adjustable concrete lights hanging from thick black ropes over bespoke timber and metal tables, the customer has a choice of low, sofa booths for relaxed, intimate dining or a high level communal table with stools for a more convivial experience. Seating along the front of the space allows for contemplation of the garden outside and observation of the ebb and flow of the neighborhood. Re-cladding the bar as a block of travertine completes the picture. 

Outside, a playful streak of neon complements the existing signage and draws attention to the venue from a distance.


Photography by Denice Hough