Asian fusion, lanterns and bamboo
Strolling around the old city centre, close to Wenceslas Square and the astronomical clock, visitors to Prague may be fortunate enough to chance upon an excellent Asian restaurant. Opened just a year ago, the Zebra Asian noodle bar already boasts rave reviews in travel and food blogs and has won a number of prestigious awards, including the Phad Thai Award. It embraces a spirit of fusion, combining flavours and aromas from China, Thailand, Japan and Vietnam. Special attention is devoted to presentation of the dishes, which are prepared in a spectacular open kitchen set in the centre of the restaurant and delimited by an illuminated wall decorated with the image of a lush bamboo grove.
Around this visually striking central element, the restaurant décor is based on an elegant, neutral design that creates natural effects with a predominance of warm tones in the use of materials and light. And light is indeed the focus of the entire project, carried through by Prague-based architect Jovan Tomovic. The lighting system he chose for Zebra is in reality a kind of installation, almost light art, using fixtures reminiscent of Chinese lanterns to create an oriental mood based on simple and clean design elements. The lamps that hang from the ceiling evoke a soft, cheerful tone that is reflected in all the spaces, producing intense plays of light and shade on the furnishings and materials.
Together with light, the other key design elements of wood, ceramics and bamboo help to create an entirely natural atmosphere.
The porcelain floor tiles have proved to be a particularly successful choice in terms of both materials and sizes, creating a fascinating combination that is at once functional and visually appealing. For the entrance area and the entire central section of the restaurant, the architect chose tiles from Casamood’s Nera series in a 60×60 cm size and warm grey colour, a product inspired by lava stone whose texture creates a warm, enveloping surface. Without resorting to unsightly walls or partitions, the transition to the more secluded interior part of the restaurant is achieved simply by way of the floor coverings. The 15×120 cm planks from the Belgique collection by Casa dolce casa create a highly appealing combination wood and stone look, a kind of elegant ceramic wood whose surface is marked by small incisions that create a hand-sawn effect.
One splendid feature in this section is the contrast between the floor and the striking orange wall onto which a solemn and imposing oriental sculpture has been mounted.
The décor is completely based on wood, including tables with a simple and elegant design alongside slender two-tone benches and chairs. The utter simplicity of the space is enhanced by a few subtle oriental touches. This includes the highly effective use of bamboo, which features in a number of ceiling lamps hanging in small groups amongst the lanterns and emerges from large vases to create splashes of greenery.
The Zebra dining space extends out under a large portico that offers a secluded outdoor space facing onto a busy street.
Warm, Warm Grey