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A New Hong Kong Style Cafe in Koreatown LA

When we started the design process for Liu’s Cafe, we took inspiration from coffee shops and eateries in Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai - studying images of local spaces with just-so arches and rustic divided-lite windows. We balanced the old and new with vintage brass fixtures and clean lines - dark walnut with honed Carrara.

The original space was painted bright yellow and did not have a defined dining room as it had been used mostly for pick up orders. We closed off one wall of the kitchen to make the dining room a defined space. And created a graceful arched doorway between the two zones. We knew it would frame the view from one room to the next beautifully. We carved out a window between the dining room and the bakery to give guests a glimpse of the house made pastry program. The owners wanted to keep the kitchen concept as transparent and open as possible.

Sage green tile and burnished brass light fixtures lend a traditional sensibility to the space. We custom designed the order counter, banquette, and dining tables in walnut and Carrara to ground the space. Light boxes with signage in English and Chinese act as decorative elements defining the water station and hallway to the bathrooms. A local artisan hand crafted a walnut window frame designed by us to mimic the classic versions of Taipei.

We knew we wanted to incorporate a vintage Asian cabinet to bring an authentic flair to the space. Artwork and plants add a lush welcoming vibe.

Take a look at where it started:

And how we transformed it!

Photography: Bethany Nauert for Big Leo Productions


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