Opening: August, 2010
Where: Munich, Germany
Capacity: 88 guests
Floor Area: 120M²
‘A Bavarian character, slightly 70’s like, smoky, heavy, brown stained, standing alone in the corner, long forgotten. Until one day he is asked to undress and change into a light weight, young, healthy, half Vegan Vietnamese’… is the description summarizing this whole project.
Charlie is a (half vegan) Vietnamese restaurant located slightly off Munich’s center, in an area known for its trashy beer bars.
As the opening phrase suggests, we took over one such old bar and morphed it into something it most probably never dreamed of becoming.
As we had practically no financial means to work with, but then all the furnishing elements were still there, the two aspects spelled one word very clear:
T R A N S F O R M A T I O N
Rundown but functioning as they were, we needed to find the right recipe of how to go about it (The chairs looked awful but you could still sit… The upholstered benches were still standing but looking tragic… etc, etc).
We started with the ‘backdrop’- The typical dark brown wood cladding was washed in light gray. The shabby brown floor was treated with a dark gray industrial coating and the traditional Bavarian furniture got a whole new character after a short sand blasting session. Some strong colours helped us bringing to life the bar and canteen service areas.
On the gray washed Bavarian infrastructure we needed a layer of Vietnam, of brighter colours, fluo plastics and some items smelling of a different culture… Ten days of market hopping in Vietnam resulted in loads of wonderfully bright plastic everything’s, together with all the space was still missing… Small bright red plastic stools with a beautiful pattern on the seat. All the porcelain dishes of the restaurant came from Vietnam’s largest porcelain producer who reaches incredible quality coupled with impossible (low) prices. If the eastern kitchen is an endless resource for wonderful kitchenware, and it really is, then Vietnamese pots must be a special highlight. It didn’t take us long until we found an ingenious ‘hot pot’ which by now is the most popular dish in the restaurant. A real highlight was finding not only fluorescent plastic containers of all sorts but even the brightest fluorescent toilet brushes possible.
Photography: Gerhardt Kellermann