Designing a Food Park in the basement

Designing a Food Park in the basement

IN a time when open, naturally ventilated spaces seemingly become requisites for dining places, here is a food “park” tucked right under the building.

Envisioned as Cebu’s first basement food lounge, the 1Nito Tower’s Food Lounge is looking forward to giving diners a different feel as they dig into their favorite food and beverages.

Converting a somber and confined space like a basement into a relaxing place for dining is a challenge but LLG Architects, led by couple-architects Lendel and Leizle Go, readily took the design brief given to them by their clients.

Leizle shared that their architecture firm was initially tasked to do the façade design of the 1Nito Tower. But with the client wanting every space inside to be “top-grade and well-designed,” they were asked to design the food lounge that was to be located at the building’s basement.

“This was exciting because we had the opportunity to come up with unique spaces for the interior,” shared the architect. “They also wanted it to be the next go-to trending dining spot where family and friends can unwind and chill.”

The professional experience that the architects gained in Singapore after years of working in top architectural firms there proved handy during the design conceptualization stage of the project.

“(In Singapore), we noticed a lot of well-designed casual dining spots and food parks which inspired us for this project. Initially, we presented the client with two design concept options. First (scheme) was a street-inspired interior, and the second one was an outdoor-garden-inspired concept. Both are somewhat similar in a sense that the overall look is urban and raw,” explained Leizle. Leaning toward the imaginings of a “park” at the basement, the architects and client agreed to pursue the second design concept.

The completion of the 1Nito Food Lounge reveals the architects’ garden-inspired musings, giving the once dark and concealed part of the building a refreshing and vibrant environment. The feeling of being fully enclosed was eliminated by incorporating “outdoor elements,” which the architects thought was “necessary for the space to feel like a real food park.”

The floor design itself reminds people of the meandering walkways in gardens. One could find stone footpaths leading to the various food stalls. There are green inserts and outdoor furniture, such as rattan chairs. The building material choice mixed the natural and the luxurious as wood, stone and concrete communicated well with the marble countertops, brass finishes and accent lighting.

The so-called “new normal” considerations are also considered in the design of this space. Apart from making alcohol sprays and hepa filters and a furniture layout that underscores social distancing, the architects worked with their allied professionals to make sure the mechanical systems are enhanced to ensure a healthy circulation of air inside. Another design feature found here is an air well, which not only helps allow some natural ventilation but also natural lighting.

“The food lounge has its own separate entry, as it leads you straight to the basement. With this strategic arrangement, most of the guests wouldn’t need to go through the hassle of passing by the main lobby, thus minimizing exposure to other groups of people,” added the architect.

Whether one were to grab a quick lunch with workmates or have a relaxing and casual conversation over dinner with family and friends, the 1Nito Food Lounge is sure to provide the most relaxing, outdoorsy ambience even with its basement setting. Well, thanks to the creative efforts of its architects.

Leizle shared: “As architects, it is our natural initiative to ensure that the users will always have the highest consideration. Their comfort and experience will always be our priority.”

The 1Nito Tower is located on Archbishop Reyes Ave., Cebu City. The 1Nito Tower Food Lounge is located in the basement, and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.


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