Jennifer Young • Photography by Barry Schwartz • July 25, 2018

Photos: Majordōmo

For restaurateur and famed chef David Chang, founder of , his first foray into the Los Angeles food scene had to be unexpected but maintain the same level of quality as Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar and the Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko. Chang turned to longtime collaborator to help him “make something specific to the city and create a menu that pays tribute to its food traditions,” explains Anwar Mekhayech, principal and founding partner of the Toronto-based firm, along with Allen Chan and Matt Davis.

Enter , which brings a much-needed lively spirit to a sleepy warehouse district in Los Angeles’ Chinatown neighborhood. “The design is specific to the locale, just like the food,” he says. Poured concrete, rolled steel, wood, and glass set the foundation for the eatery, with DesignAgency reworking the space to reveal “the sights, smells, and sounds of the kitchen,” he says, “with the hope that diners feel comfortable and at home.”

To balance the harshness of the concrete, Mekhayech used warm walnut tones found in the tables and bar countertop and oversized factory lamps that emit soft lighting for a relaxed ambiance. Metal and leather details also add warmth while colorful artwork boldly punctuates the restaurant. Consider the 10-by-10-foot Pipette with acrylic paint on wood panels by artist James Jean. It “sets a dreamy mood in the private dining room,” says Mekhayech, while paintings by Korean-American artist and Chang’s friend David Choe fill the main dining space, as well as the patio, enlivened by a mural that references Choe’s personal trips to Korea with Chang.

Still, all the elements of the design go back to a simple, pure outlook—the same “honesty that flows through the food,” Mekhayech notes. It’s the neutral color palette and clean lines in furniture and fixtures that allow the honest, open layout to feel “intimate yet exciting and connected to the kitchen from every spot.”