In this post, we will be discussing our work on a Vancouver restaurant called Q Shi Q.
Although Q Shi Q was recently sold and now operates under a different name, we want to share this project because it showcases how far we can go to execute on a customer’s design and overall finished product goals.
This project involved custom metalwork and woodwork. The finished restaurant featured many functional art pieces with materials and styles coordinated to create a one-of-a-kind ambiance.
Q Shi Q was the brainchild of an experienced entrepreneur who had significant cultural experience from doing business in Asia.
His dream was to bring the art of Japanese grill to Vancouver. Most Japanese restaurants in the area serve sushi or noodles. He specifically wanted to serve robata barbeque. Robata refers to a method of cooking in which food is cooked at various speeds over hot charcoal.
The existing building was an aging warehouse in the industrial area of Vancouver. Although it was situated in an up-and-coming neighbourhood, there were not many restaurant locations established in that area at the time of the project. However, the client felt he had a strong enough brand to create a destination in what would become a growing food area in Vancouver.
Q Shi Q was an incredibly well-designed project.
The building itself was a stand-alone structure. It was initially a warehouse with an upstairs office. We aimed to redevelop the property so that a restaurant and commissary kitchen would exist on one side. On the other side would be a lobby with an upstairs entrance to the company’s office space.
House of Bohn—a premium Vancouver design firm—completed the space's design and overall creative direction. We worked very closely with them over the construction period to attain the overall desired aesthetics of the space. The result was an establishment with a very distinctive ambiance.
Starting with the exterior, we were responsible for re-facing the entire envelope of the building. We ended up redoing the windows as well as the façade of the building.
The cladding the client chose was a corrugated metal cut in a chevron pattern. The chevron pattern had two different tones to it—a darker black and a glossy black. This gave the exterior of the building a unique look and helped it stand out from the structures around it.
Another eye-catching feature was the doors recessed in wood entrances that angled in and down toward them. So, you had a broader entry that narrowed down to a standard 6-foot door opening.
These design elements—black and wood—continued throughout the interior of the space. So did the appearance of the doors, which are wrapped in gold foil, giving them a tarnished look.
Upon entering the space after completion, you could see the intention and the quality of craftsmanship it took to put this place together.
The location featured soaring ceilings with exposed wood joists, so we faux-finished the entire space to make it look aged. This was an essential aspect of the aesthetic of Q Shi Q.
The restaurant had a fast-casual concept. First, customers would notice a large ordering section. They would walk up, order, and walk down the line to get their food. The cooking line was exposed so everyone could see their food being prepared.
Even though most customers did not get to see the office's lobby next door to the restaurant, we invested considerable time, attention, and detail into the front reception desk, custom bench seating, and mirrored wall design imagery. These elements were fully aligned with the restaurant's branding to make an impression on business associates coming to meet with the owner.
The owner did not like the look of a standard kitchen cook hood, so we created an oversized false hood—a kind of drop-ceiling—out of machined metal with a tarnished finish. This faux industrial hood encompassed the entire upper part of the bar and resulted from an elaborate metalwork process.
Another metalworking solution we produced for this project was for the bar front itself. The client had an idea of melting metal connecting with wood, so we created an oak bar front that we CNC routed into a design. We then experimented with different metal combinations to determine the correct burn temperature for the metal to have the ideal amount of melt and burn on the wood. We were able to get the metal to spread out evenly and create a unique burned metal/wood look through this process.
Another metal feature was the set of positive screens that we added around the space. You will see that there were areas where we overlaid CNC-cut metal to create a positive image mounted on the wall, and some of those positive images united seamlessly with plywood negative cut-outs in the same pattern.
You can see areas where there is a positive metal screen over a window which flowed into a continuation of the pattern expressed through the negative cut-out of the plywood on the wall.
This was all incredibly detailed work we had to coordinate between two different facilities with two different technologies, all working with CNC products. This proved to be an enjoyable challenge to execute.
Finally, we had exposed oversized ductwork throughout the space, which is quite common. The bright aluminum colour of the ductwork was not a fit for the look of the restaurant. We worked with a faux finisher to custom paint the exposed ductwork to give it the tarnished look of aged steel, closely matching the finish of the hood we created for the bar.
The beer taps and wrappings on the bar seating were all made of bright brass. To get it to match the other metal elements in the restaurant, we had a custom jeweler tarnish the brass to create an aged patina look. The distinctive light fixtures have the same tarnished finish.
Outside of the decorative details of the craftsmanship that went into this restaurant, we also overcame several structural challenges. In some cases, they overlapped. For example, this concept required quite considerable mechanical infrastructure. We had to mount multiple units on the roof, which required us to double up the ceiling joists. As mentioned earlier, the joists were exposed, so we had to tarnish the new wood to match the old wood.
We also had a large commissary kitchen in the back, which supported the business through non-dine-in sales. So, at the back of the space, the kitchen featured a huge walk-in refrigerator. The intention was to ready the food in this climate-controlled environment so that the product would stay at-temperature through to packaging.
To support the drainage of the space, we needed a large grease interceptor. We had to perform quite a bit of coring and cutting in the concrete in the back area to plumb in the front and back kitchens into the 250-gallon per minute grease interceptor.
Construction of Q Shi Q was an incredibly detailed, highly coordinated project, and we had a great deal of fun working on it. Crafting and installing the large graphic installations, custom woodworking, custom metal fabrication, and faux finishing were some of the most satisfying types of work we have experienced during our restaurant-building career.