redpan began with a simple wish to share good food in a good setting, a ‘living room’ that nurtures interaction and creativity, where ideas can be exchanged over a casual, convivial meal. From the observation that DP’s own architects and staff like to hold informal work discussions at cafes near the office, the architecture firm conceived redpan as an exercise in building camaraderie in an urban environment where the line between work and play is increasingly blurred. The restaurant is in Marina Square, where the firm’s headquarters is located.
DP picked local restaurateurs The Food Explorer Group, owners of popular bistro GRUB, as creative partners in this ‘love affair’ between design and food. This first joint F&B venture between DP and GRUB has allowed both parties to focus on their strengths of design and food development respectively, each bringing their best to their table. The ‘red’ in the restaurant’s name represents the fully Singaporean labour of love, while ‘pan’ refers to the culinary essential where two very different industries – design and food – can cook up something creative together.
Creating a dining space that conjures up conviviality and joy takes into account how a space makes people feel and think. Keeping with DP’s design philosophy, the aspiration was for redpan to be a delightful and memorable space that enriches the human experience. At the onset, the designers had to dig deep to think about place-making ingredients that would transform the modest space into a happy one that creates memories. It was also a challenge to accommodate within the intimate space a fully functioning kitchen, bar, dining area and a private room with audio-visual equipment, while balancing design demands with prudent resources and a tight timeline.
The designers had to deliberate over creating a multi-functional space that is warm and vibrant, and conveys a sense of chic without relying on extravagant decoration and furnishing. To achieve this, the concept was distilled down to one simple, core design element – generous curves and rounded corners that add hints of sophistication, dynamism and softness to a functional design.
The playful curves keep redpan less structured, creating a fluid and welcoming space that helps to stimulate conviviality and a sense of relaxation on an intuitive level. Purpose-built half-height walls crafted from stacked layers of plywood visually connect the space to the rest of the shopping mall, so that patrons are drawn to the accessibility of the space. The unfinished plywood reflects the focus on the earthy honesty of materials. The interior architecture is pared down to its elementary forms; architectural contouring, inspired by the process of model-making, is used to elevate the basic building materials, creating an unpretentious setting that allows users to respond intuitively to the space.
redpan’s challenges allowed DP to experiment with the creative reconfiguration of cost-effective material, lighting levels and the positioning of elements.The strategic placement of colours and carefully chosen furniture transforms the space into comfortable den-like corners and cosy spaces, offering booths, a bar, a private room, and a freestanding dining area with a generous skylight reminiscent of an alfresco terrace.
To broaden the restaurant’s appeal to working professionals in the area, redpan was designed to be classy and chic. Design accents, like the custom-designed hanging glass feature, create visual interest and depth in the tastefully understated restaurant design. Unique to redpan, the feature comprises 2,000 glass pieces individually adjusted by hand over weeks to follow the restaurant’s distinctive curves. The glass table in the private dining room, also custom-designed, is made completely of thin glass panels, including the legs, to highlight the versatility of this sleek yet sturdy material in creating simple, stylish and elegant designs. These highlights are celebratory toasts to local craftsmanship, innovation and DP’s attention to detail. After all, to establish a convivial space that encourages social interaction, the focus lies in creating the right atmosphere to inspire that interaction – this calls for authenticity and a keen sensitivity to the little things that influence the poetics of space.
Established as part of DP’s ongoing experiment in various typologies – including lifestyle concepts, lifestyle business and creative merchandising – redpan is designed for a fun local dining experience, complemented by GRUB’s inventive Singaporean fare, in a cosy communal space that highlights people’s essential relationship with food as the energy source of creative thought.