Oxalis Restaurant - Shanghai, China

Oxalis Restaurant. A cosy piece of country French inside a Shanghai skyscraper.

Seasonal menu infused with the scent of fresh herbs, a view of the river, elegant bentwood furniture, marble tables, rattan decor and handmade tiles featuring the chef’s cat playing among lush greenery. Diners don’t have to close their eyes to feel like they are in the French countryside, despite being seated in the middle of Shanghai.

The visual concept of Oxalis was inspired by the personal philosophy of the restaurant’s Chef Jonas, who is passionate about using herbs, plants and flowers in his kitchen. The design team at Sò Studio aimed to use the language of contemporary design to create the atmosphere of a French homestead under the motto Growing Mysteries. The space embraces the idea of intimacy, created through a careful combination of soft tones, pleasant light and natural materials. Growth is expressed symbolically through materials that extend and expand – from the floor to the walls, and the walls to the ceiling – lending the space an expressive yet harmonious feel.

Rattan is ever-present – from the entry area to the private room at the back of the restaurant. Besides having a decorative function, rattan serves as a visual divider and in places defines seating areas. Rattan arches rise towards the ceiling, inspired by the form and function of a greenhouse, and create the sense of a safe and tranquil space.

The dark ambiance of the front bar contrasts with the restaurant’s prevailing light palette. The four-metre long black bar is surrounded by handmade dark-green bricks which frame the beautiful ceramic scenery that forms the bar’s backdrop. The green theme carries over to the upholstery on the long bench situated in the middle of the dining area. Behind the bench is the entry to the kitchen, which is visible from just about every corner of the restaurant.

The restaurant’s back area includes a 16m2 private room. Flanked by wine racks, the glassed entry visually opens up the room and makes it feel spacious. The remaining three walls of the private room are decorated with tiles and rattan elements, making diners feel like they have been transported across the oceans to a private retreat in the French countryside. This feeling is enhanced further by manually-bent wood furniture from TON, which is represented at Oxalis with traditional models no.30 and no.14 (in the barstool version).

The visually striking tiles were custom-made for the restaurant by the illustrator Wang Zhe.

Her fresh style follows the theme Reiki flowers and animals and reflects the spirit of contemporary France as exemplified at Oxalis. The tiles feature European kitchen staples –  vegetables, fruit and herbs – and among them playful insects, birds as well as the chef’s cat.

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