Red jade restaurant -a retro restaurant with light
Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
interior and exterior, 2017
178.5 cubic meters
one-way mirrors,wood, lightings, glasses, tiles
electronic devices and controllers, and other interior materials


This job was to rebuild a 15-year-old restaurant. I translated Hong Soon-ok, the name of the restaurant owner who asked me to do this, into English and named the restaurant Red Jade. The Red Jade Restaurant was designed with a retro theme and convenience of maintenance in mind. In addition, mirrors and light fixtures were placed to expand the atmosphere of the interior. The LED used for the lights had adjustable colour and luminosity, so that they may change depending on the season, and changes to space were made using one-way mirrors. I produced all aspects of this project with 1 carpenter and 2 assistants starting with the design, making the blueprints, woodworking, electrical planning, laying out the water pipes, installing the tiles, making the store sign, building the structures in the bathrooms, and making the tables. Metal doors and kitchen facilities were commissioned by outside companies.



Man’s Bathroom

In order to produce the retro look, the bathroom was lit with filament bulbs. The one-way mirror changed the atmosphere and made space seem larger. For the floor of this space to look infinite. The tile pattern from the inside of the bathroom was copied and extended in this narrow floor space as well as on its walls. Also, tempered glass was covered to protect the one-way mirror. The one-way mirror was made removable with wooden mounts so that the electrical parts within it would be accessible for maintenance. To further expand the look of this space, the sink was suspended 260~280 mm off the floor and mounted on the wall. Afterwards, the lights were installed. In addition, I had to buy many kinds of light bulbs and check their colours because their colours were different, even though they had the same colour temperature.



Woman’s Bathroom

The internal structure of the woman’s bathroom was made the same as that of the man’s bathroom. In addition, the cherry blossom motif was used to convey the atmosphere of 1950’s Korean culture. A black mirror was used on the bottom to make it seem like the cherry blossoms are floating on calm water. The sink design was chosen to compliment the look of the cherry blossoms. A lower sink and toilet were installed next to the regular ones to make it child-friendly. Because this was not done by anyone, I couldn’t make a precise prediction. Unlike the previous one, which used only lights in a one-sided penetrate mirror, the sculpture had to be installed. I also had a hard time finding cherry blossoms’ branches in the winter, and because I couldn’t install the toilet until the sculpture was finished, I had to use the bathroom far away until the work was finished.



Main Hall Light Fixture

The main hall lights also used one-way mirrors which lets even the low luminosity light sources to permeate and produce a clear lighting effect. One-way mirrors were installed on four sides so that they seem like they are facing each other when viewed from within. This directs all the light towards the table below and appears to be an unending series of light bulbs when viewed from elsewhere.



Wall Treatment and Wiring

No walls were built on top of the exposed concrete walls, but a layer of putty was laid on them to act as insulation while giving it a plastered look. For places where visitors might rub or could get easily spoiled, mouldings were made from Merbau wood. In order to make a level plane without building additional walls, plywood was cut and laid on the curved portions of the wall. In the process of mounting the Merbau wood floor panels on these levelling pieces, 15~25mm gaps occur, so the wiring for the LEDs went into these gaps. Parts of the lower Merbau bars had to be cut to allow for the LED heatsink plate to be mounted.



Indirect Lighting of the Floor

Using the wires that extend from the fuse box to the windows and the floors, rows of LED lights were installed along the windows and the bottom of the walls.



Event Room Wall Light and Ceiling Light

For the room with the adjustable glass dividers, the exposed concrete walls left during the deconstruction of the previous interior were integrated into its lighting fixture. A frame-like structure was embedded into the walls with LEDs running along its bottom edge, so the light would illuminate the texture of the concrete, imitating the look of flowing water. The luminosity could be adjusted with remote control. Mirrors were used to reflect this fixture and make it look extended. To provide focused light in a divided space, a lining of lights were installed along a wooden frame.




The kitchen was fitted with modern appliances inside while maintaining the retro look when viewed from outside. The decorations on the exterior of the kitchen were made using old techniques to further improve this detailed look.




Main Table

The main hall table was made to interrupt the leg movement of the visitors as little as possible. The center was decorated with embedded artificial succulent plants. I had to make the proper table legs because the shape at the bottom of this table was different from the normal table.





To convey the retro look and make maintenance easy, the floor tiles of the main hall and the bathrooms were made to look like carpets, a mosaic made with many tiles of different patterns. The door to the fuse box was made to look like a wall of bricks.



Wiring the Speakers

Copper pipes were used, not only to accentuate the exposed look of the ceiling but also to cover up the 12 wires for the audio speakers, as it is known to have good sound carrying properties. The final result has the look of high-end antique water pipes.



Waiting room

A new space was created as a waiting room as steps connecting the first floor to the second floor were removed and steel plates were welded.



Facilities Construction

The location of the new kitchen has been changed several times according to a theory of divination based on topography heard by the restaurant owner. In order to expand usable space, facilities construction was completed with exposed pipes.



Main Sign

The main sign for the restaurant was made to be very bright even in daylight using LED bars, due to the dark entrance way. Reflecting the interior look of the restaurant, LED light bulbs designed to look like filament bulbs were used.



Window Sign

LED bars were installed using the 50mm window gap between the first and the second floor. Light diffusing acrylics were cut into letter shapes and installed within. Without a separate sign fixture, this does a good job of promoting the restaurant on the front facade of the building. The lights here also have an adjustable colour control unit.





Many people shared pictures of bathrooms with special designs on their SNS. This made the restaurant famous. I’ve been asked to do another job by the owner of this restaurant, and I’ve also been asked by many people to set up this decoration.