With three separate dining areas - each providing its own unique atmosphere - Charlie Chiang’s Restaurant in Naples, FL, offers something for everyone. The restaurant, which prides itself on its contemporary interpretation of traditional Chinese cuisine, is one of several locations, of which the first was opened in Alexandria, VA, in September 1976. One of the more recent additions to the franchise features an interior design of Italian tile, among other materials, which creates a modern yet inviting dining environment for patrons.
According to the architect, the 4,000-square-foot restaurant has a modern design sensibility. “Through the use of rich materials such as wood, ceramic and porcelain tile, custom pre-cast concrete and filmed glazing - with a combination of warm colors and creative lighting - the old space is transformed into a functional, sophisticated restaurant with major attention to details,” he said.
The floor throughout the eatery is comprised of 12-by-24-inch porcelain tiles from Ceramiche Caesar. The warm shades of the large-format floor tile set the tone for an elegant and welcoming dining atmosphere. Moreover, the Italian porcelain provides the strength and durability needed in a high-trafficked area - making the restaurant’s design functional as well as aesthetically appealing.
“It doesn’t just have a plain ceramic feel to it,” explained Honarkar. “A space with a contemporary design can sometimes feel cold aesthetically. The grain and texture in the porcelain by Caesar warms up the space.”
The architect went on to say that the design team chose large-format floor tiles because they were looking for something different. “We wanted to get away from the typical 12-by-12 tile,” he said.
In addition to the main dining areas, Italian tile was also selected for an interior water feature as well as the design of the restroom. Bisazza 12-by-12-inch ceramic tile - in a vibrant shade of orange - was used for both the architectural element as well as the restroom walls.
“We were looking for something more vibrant and that would pop out,” said Honarkar. “Proportionally against the 12-by-24-inch tiles, it really stands out.”
When it came to choosing materials for the restaurant’s interior design, the client was open to the design team’s suggestions, explained the architect. “The best clients are the ones that are involved and listen to our ideas,” he said. “The Chiang family is a very special client. They give us a lot of freedom in that regard.”
Work on the project began in late 2005, and Charlie Chiang’s Restaurant opened its doors in 2006. “There is nothing like it in Naples,” said Honarkar. “The restaurant is doing extremely well, and people have responded in a very positive way.”