Spiga — Eternal city presents Italy's past to the present

Despite rumours to the contrary, Hong Kong loves its outdoor spaces. Homes with balconies often sell for a premium, and restaurants are made all the more inviting if alfresco dining was an option.

Outdoor area

LHT Tower in Central is blessed with an expansive terrace on the third storey of its podium. When Dining Concepts brought two Michelin-starred Italian chef Enrico Bartolini to Hong Kong, it also enlisted the help of Joyce Wang Studio to transform the 7,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor venue, Spiga, into the talk of the town.

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Spiga table

The Hong Kong-based interior architect is a film buff who looked to inspiration for the restaurant from vintage 50s Italian cinema. Wang divided the long space into six different zones; each references a unique aspect of the Mediterranean country’s glamour. She sought out celebrated Italian lighting houses including Arteluce, Fontana Arte and Stilnovo to give the restaurant’s different areas their characteristic glow. She hand-sourced antiques and artefacts from a bygone era to lend the space a feeling of authenticity, as well as to provide visual eye candy. The result is an eclectic interior that provides something new upon each visit, with minute attention paid to details.

Spiga wall design

Spiga dining rooms

Upon entry, a double height semi-private dining room dubbed Secret Garden combine brick, hammered marble, hanging planters and firefly-like pendant lamps for a romantic getaway. Adjacent to the 214-square-foot outdoor terrace Portico, the room’s tall glass windows blur the boundaries between inside and outside, and recalls the famous piazzas that can be found throughout Italy. “To me, this space paid homage to Italian Tuscan architecture, which often feels like a tall fortress with its masonry brickwork elevations,” notes Wang. “Still, these structures are traditionally successful at fusing outdoor with the indoors. Thick timber shelving holding large Tuscan pots of foliage interlaced with vintage Italian lighting sets the backdrop for this unique private dining room.”

Spiga dining area

Spiga dining sofa

Like a stage with the diners as both the performers and the audience, the central dining area looks to old-fashioned Italian circuses. Alternating ropes and silk wallcovering draped across the ceiling recall circus tents, while glass-fronted display cabinets contain original juggling pins, flame throwers and other entertainment paraphernalia. A pendulum chandelier with moving arms in the centre of the space references Italian street performers. “These items have been procured from avid collectors of circus and performance paraphernalia as well as galleries that specialise in vintage accessories,” explains Wang. “These pieces add a layer of story and authenticity by speaking to the architectural quality of space.”

Spiga dining area

Cementing the space and helping to separate three other dining areas is a central table facing a long bar outfitted with Charles Hollis Jones acrylic swiveling bar stools clad in recycled leather sources from a Hong Kong shoe factory. “The large buffet table in the centre is the heart of the restaurant,” states Wang. “People naturally gravitate towards it and circulate around it as the daily fresh antipasti offering is staged upon it. We derived the formal language of the table by celebrating (Carlo) Scarpa’s architecture, making geometric cuts into the slabs of marble and layering on top of one another, to create a sense of something that has existed in the restaurant from day one.”

Spiga kitchen

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