Red Design Looks to the Sea for Western-Japanese Fusion Restaurant Umi in Shanghai
The new Western-Japanese fusion restaurant Umi landed on the 4th floor of the luxe Swire Properties mall in Shanghai, but its inspiration can be found far below that. Accessed via a private lift across from a modern Zen garden terrace, complete with a covered walkway, Umi was named after the Japanese word for ocean, and shimmers with aquatic aesthetics.
“I wanted to create an underwater experience that was not tacky or themed,” says design partner Michael McGirr of Red Design, which conceived the 4,300-square-foot interior and 2,200-square-foot exterior.
Material selection was key: Travertine floors in matte finishes reference coral’s nubby texture, while copper details and rich navy upholstery further the maritime vibe. “The light fixtures reflect the colors found from deep sea life,” McGirr says, “and their magical translucency highlights the deep blue tones found at the depth of the ocean.” The team even fashioned ersatz oysters for wall sculptures. “The brass finish glistens off the iridescent pearl lighting,” McGirr says. “They are compositions you could not find in any other space in the world.” Even in a high-end mall or 20,000 leagues under the sea.