We are getting healthier and living longer. We recognise this trend and our every day job is to respond with the design solutions for the eco-friendliness of the hospitality spaces. The cultural winds are changing, not just due to the weak economy but the changes are structural: the new class of luxury is offering value for money and financial modesty.

Vonsung was commissioned to create and design a new restaurant concept called, Viet Hoa Mess, which strips out the over-attended service offering exclusivity and indulgence at a high price, but a more do-it-yourself, efficient and simple hospitality. There are no delays, fuss or frills, buck-passing mentality: the new luxury is removing all elements that customers do not want.  Simply put, it is a Do-It-Yourself steak house.

The Mess is one of those slightly complex scheme for which exploded axonometric drawings are perfect, and which we duly provided. It elegantly describes the main elements of the restaurant: two staggered, interlinked and very different restaurant forms (Cafe and Mess) connected by a central theme. The connection of the two restaurants is marked by the main 5 meter feature stone wall, and leads from the ground floor to the new underground restaurant. The overall impression is of two buildings that are rubbing past each other.

The new, 78 seating capacity Mess dining room will come with individual infrared light grill stations (cook-your-own steaks) on medea stone tables with concrete bases with acoustic and passive insulation benefits. Surrounded by sedimentary stone walls, the Mess is cocooned by lights that break down from the ceiling into deep lava-shaped columns. Creative Director of VONSUNG, Joseph Sung, explains the concept of the Mess restaurant as being marriage of the gothic with the classical (a temple-like form to the ground floor cafe, where heart-oak walls reflect deep Vietnam's landscape).

Due to the diagonal views set up from one corner to another - the Mess manages to seem bigger than it is. Everything is tied together by the central dining/kitchen grill bar, set deep below the dining floor level, created by beton brut concrete lined with clean wall lights which marks the spine of the bar. Into this space, Sung introduces three large cantilevered large oak-veneered seating benches that also serve to strengthen the partition walls. An expansive ceiling dominates the restaurant, drawing customers into the dining area while the plaster moulding soft architectural lights undulating over tables and then swooping downwards to form the stone back wall of the space. Thus the ceiling and lights combined unifies the restaurant space and reinforces the shared dining experience. As added emphasis, mirrored panelled extraction system at the centre of the sunken grill bar area increases the size of the main dining room, with overhead 'lava' ceiling lights seeming to extend limitlessly to the either side.

The Mess restaurant plays on the contrasts of materials and impressions: walls in stone, tables in concrete contrast with medea stone, flooring in waxed stone and furniture in aluminium. Square tables placed on a concrete form block base create an illusion of floating, bringing a note of architectural model masterplan to the place. The seating is kept minimal with aluminium chairs to add to the reflection of the space. The Mess restaurant offers a view of an underground earth cave dining experience which connects with the ground floor's nature concept.