JG Phoenix and the Highland Star Chef Restaurant


Ouyang Yun,

Shenzhen, China,


Interior Design,

With the Highland Star Chef Restaurant, the Chinese studio JG Phoenix has completed a venue that looks like it’s in the middle of greenery, despite it being in the centre of Shenzhen. The interior design project combines socialising and art with the desire to show the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.

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JG Phoenix and the Highland Star Chef Restaurant Overseas Chinese Town (OCT or Huaqiaocheng in Chinese) in Nanshan, one of the ten districts of Shenzhen, is probably the city’s coolest neighbourhood. Here, in Yanhan Highland, a landmark tower in the Creative Park, Jingu Phoenix Space Planning Organization has completed the Highland Star Chef restaurant. The designers have skilfully turned this 1280-square-metre space into a go-to venue, combining art with attention to nature. Because with Yanhan Mountain in the west and the urban landscape in the east, the project delivers such breath-taking views that for a moment you get the feeling you’re completely away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Ye Hui, the lead designer at JG Phoenix, explains the idea behind the project: “We wanted to create a place where we could enjoy food and various social gatherings by integrating the original natural environment, and the project shows the harmonious coexistence between man and nature.” It is no coincidence that the creative designer who graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts is a supporter of natural aesthetics and believes in creating spaces on a human scale based on the contemporary context.
In fact, to achieve this goal, the team at JG Phoenix has adopted a modernist approach where, however, “less” doesn’t translate into the mere removal of the superfluous but rather into the use of natural elements. This is because the best things - and Ye Hui is convinced of this - are found in nature: sunlight, branches, rocks. These material references are what enable patrons to disconnect from the city and reconnect to nature, perceiving its rhythm in the changes. Indeed, the interiors feature a limited colour palette; they are beige boxes where the refined but understated furnishings fit in with great style. An essential part of the composition is the inclusion of artworks to add to the guest’s experience. Even in the art on display, Ye Hui’s selection prioritises works of great material appeal so much as to craft a real underlying theme in the design narrative.
The white-coated light steel beam structure creates a free plane and flowing space that opens onto the atrium. This is a simple, natural courtyard of green plants grouped in islands and growing up from the natural gravel. So, it doesn’t matter where you move, you’re always going to have a visual connection with the greenery, whether it’s Yanhan Mountain or the landscaping that complements the interior design.
A visit to the Highland Star Chef Restaurant designed by JG Phoenix becomes much more than a mere moment to socialise and dine out. The result of this project is a combination of architecture, landscape, interiors, lighting, and art installations that help to create memorable moments in a kind of surreal garden where you can come and relax.

Christiane Bürklein

Chief designer: Ye Hui
Design team: Chen Jian, Lin Weibin, Chen Xuexian
Location: Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China
Year: 2020
Images: Ouyang Yun