Pastel fantastic

If, like us, you’d kill to step onto a Wes Anderson set, The Budapest Café in Chengdu, China is basically a dream come true.

ABOVE Among the seating options are Hang Tall stools by Norm Architects and a 1968 Bubble Chair by Eero Aarnio Originals, which hangs above a pink ball pit.

Though it seems as if you could conceivably spot deadpan daughter Margot Tenenbaum, dapper concierge Gustave, intrepid oceanographer Steve Zissou or even fantastic Mr Fox at a table beside you, The Budapest Café in Chengdu, China is no filmic fantasy – it’s director Wes Anderson’s aesthetic in real life. Designed by Melbourne-based studio Biasol, the eatery is meant to feel like a magical world in which you can detach from the everyday outside – kind of like the fictional Budapest Hotel. The creative team channelled Wes’s precise, whimsical sets, borrowing his singular bold yet understated brand of nostalgia mixed with modernity to create a minimalist dream destination with a sense of grandeur and an international appeal. It’s an ultra-Instagrammable, pastel taste of Melbourne’s café culture, half a world away.

TOP Wes’s signature archways pop up all over the place. MIDDLE The signage and artworks are neon, and steps lead upstairs and nowhere. ABOVE Terrazzo is used on the walls, seating and tabletops; marble also features on the latter and the bar (opposite).


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Nerd chair by Muuto, $844, Only U wall light, $1257, Resene Deep Teal, Penny Round cushion, $109, Graymont terrazzo, from $173/m2,

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography James Morgan

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