Sustainable Design Meets Taiwanese Taste
While commercial architecture has always seemed to come at the expense of sustainable design, Taiwanese architect Ken Lo is disrupting tradition with his Green Isle Japanese grill. Located in the Kaohsiung City of Taiwan, Lo’s design emphasises the importance of nature by making it integral to the structure and culinary experience of his third restaurant. While the concrete city of Kaohsiung leaves little opportunity for interaction with its broader environment, the Green Isle provides a culinary experience integrated with the natural world, encouraging diners and designers alike to be inspired by ecological thinking.
Following the popularity of the other restaurants in his Tan Zuo Ma franchise, Lo’s third restaurant is quickly becoming one of the Anping district’s most visited attractions as customers grow fond of his outdoor dining experience. Lo ‘subverts the symbiosis between tradition and the natural environment,’ creating a botanical space that incorporates sustainable design while maintaining sophisticated culinary dining. This is exemplified by the charming well-lit paths that establish a sense of peacefulness, guiding customers towards the transparent walls of the restaurant that remove the barrier between interior and exterior. The Green Isle thereby offers the rare opportunity for residents to slow down, dine, and embrace the often-neglected beauty of their surroundings.
The Green Isle embodies Lo’s innovative taste, challenging what constitutes modern dining by integrating sustainable practices. The 5,950m2 space ‘encompasses both a rest and dining area’, embodying a softly lit forest-like environment. As customers cross the bridge over a serene 120-metre pool, hundreds of large trees scattered throughout the property are visible, creating a sleek, guarded atmosphere that simultaneously reduces carbon emissions. Customers can reach different seating spaces via wood-panelled walkways, a necessity made beautiful through views of the water and its resident koi fish. At the centre of Lo’s restaurant lies a glass arboretum, ensuring that the dining space is bathed in natural light. These collective features surround guests with organic materials and living décor, transforming a night out into an intimate encounter with nature.
In using an abundance of recycled materials, Lo shows that sustainability can inform and inspire innovative design. The building maintains a high degree of design integrity, with Lo discussing how the ‘changes in light and shadow’ reaffirm the ‘sense of existence’ that this restaurant’s design exudes. Lo’s simple, modern choices showcase the unity of a commercial space with environmental sustainability by demonstrating that eco-friendly practices are accessible and effective, hopefully serving as architectural inspiration moving forward.
Ken Lo’s Green Isle is known for ‘creating the feeling of being transported to another place,’ exemplifying the intersection of nature and culinary practices. We at Casper & Casper are extremely inspired by this integration of outdoor space and Japanese dining, and Lo’s work gives us hope that the restaurant industry will be able to incorporate environmental sustainability into their designs just as naturally as Lo’s Green Isle.
To learn more about the Green Isle, visit Ken Lo’s website here.
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