September 12, 2013

An Appetite For Experimentation: Stickman Tribe Designs a Shanghai Eatery

An Australian and a Scot found themselves, three years ago, trying to get a design firm off the ground in, of all places, Dubai, where global attention was focused on the imploding construction boom. It seemed like a good idea, needless to say, to pursue work outside the United Arab Emirates. Luckily for Marcos Cain and Karen Hays, founders and directors of Stickman Tribe, they soon landed a commission for a restaurant at a mixed-use property in Shanghai. The market-style eatery—graced with the unusual name the Cook, the Meet, the Brew—now functions as the axis of the entire Kerry Parkside complex, containing a hotel, a shopping mall, and an office and apartment tower.


“When you’re working in a large development, it’s important to appreciate all the different elements and recognize how to tie them together,” Cain says. He definitely has an edge in this particular area, especially in light of how he handled additional factors. Peak hours for travelers, shoppers, executives, and residents vary considerably, for ex­ample, and the 9,000-square-foot venue needed to respond to all four. Then there was the client’s interest in offering local and imported fresh food in both casual and formal settings. Cain says he saw that brief as an opportunity for a “flirtation between process and produce.”

The resulting concept, serving up crafted quality without the pretension, is manifested by the restaurant’s award-winning artisanal brewery, which can make 48,000 gallons a year-in full view of patrons. Australian masters crafting pilsner at the behest of a Middle East-based designer, for a restaurant in China? That’s one global gastro pub.

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