An ode to four iconic Chinese inventions – the letterpress, the compass, paper and gunpowder - The Chinese National is a hip, modern and explorative experience. Working with Swissôtel Jakarta, EDG Design sought to address the age-old struggle between offering guests a variety of unique culinary options, within the spatial and operational constraints of the establishment.

A Transformative Space

The defining feature of The Chinese National is its versatility and flexibility. The logistically necessary transitions between breakfast, daytime and nighttime offerings is distinctly embedded in the entire design process. In the evening, the dining destination functions as a complex of Chinese specialty venues that operate separately and offer markedly different culinary experiences. Each dining destination seeks to redefine an element of regional Chinese cuisine, which is translated into the overall atmosphere and intricate design details.

During the day, the four different spaces come together as one for breakfast, allowing guests to roam between the spaces seamlessly. There are many hidden panels in the space that open and close to allow venues to either connect or disconnect as needed. Ultimately, the design of all venues shares a similar language, but much like the languages of China, each space takes on its own visual dialect.

During the day, Letter Press serves as a tea lounge; the space’s sophisticated patterns, lush sofa seating, Chinoiserie panels, antique mirrors and intricate paneled ceiling feature creating an opulent atmosphere that evokes China’s long-standing tea culture that dates back to the Tang Dynasty. At night, the lounge transforms into a mysterious bar, accessed through a secret entrance, which evokes a sense of exclusivity and secrecy. Hidden during the day, the bar – lined with vibrant bottles and decorated by a distinct printing blocks-inspired vintage metal rail – is only revealed at night.

Four Unique Dining Concepts

Catering to starkly different guest profiles, The Chinese National consists of Letterpress, a tea house by day and cocktail bar by night; Iron Needle, a dumpling and noodle shop; Black Powder Red, a Szechuan restaurant; and Paper Duck, a luxury Cantonese roast duck venue. EDG Design’s strategy was to provide a range of options at different points during the day, from casual to luxury, which is emphasised through the energy of the spaces. The guest’s journey begins at a grand double door entrance and continues through a mesmerising hallway adorned with hanging light features and a ceiling reminiscent of a ribbed vault.

Iron and Needle is a casual dumpling and noodle shop. The design is rich with compass-inspired details featuring white marble dining tables, stained glass, reflecting the urbanscape of stacked apartments in Hong Kong and painted wood paneling inspired from old Chinese tea houses. The communal setting creates a more casual vibe and makes it more approachable than the rest of the spaces.

ClientSwissôtel Jakarta


Scale885 sqm

DisciplineBrand Concept and Interior Design ExpertiseHospitality

A complex of 4 Chinese venues in one hotel dining spot. An overall concept is based on the four great inventions of China.



Exuding an industrial art deco vibe, Black Powder Red offers a modern twist on authentic Sze Chuan cuisine, known for its delicious potent flavours and spicy kick. The space evokes the beauty of aged materials and corrosive details, creating a dark yet warm atmosphere with varieties of copper and gunmetal.

A luxury Peking Duck restaurant, the space at Paper Duck captures the parallel in the layering of both paper making and the intricate preparation of Peking Duck. A stunning central carving table with brass and marble finishes serves as the focal point of the space and is complemented by elegant paper details found in the tabletop décor and design details.