Come Celebrate Organic Chinese Design At This Houston Restaurant


Mala Sichuan Bistro bar with floor-to-ceiling concrete backdrop backlit with warm lights

For their new Mala Sichuan Bistro in Houston Heights, restaurateurs Cori Xiong and Heng Chen tasked designer Gin Braverman of gin design group with creating an environment that reflects their home province of Sichuan, China. “Having lived in Asia, I was eager to introduce the more subtle, organic side of Chinese design rather than what I felt has been the stereotype of a Chinese restaurant for so long,” Braverman explains.

With that in mind, the designer—with Course Construction, LH2 Architecture, LLC and KPK Lighting Design—aimed to celebrate the countryside’s natural beauty through various art installations and finish applications. A handmade, scaled-down replica of a traditional Chinese pagoda roof crowns the central seating area. In the rear, dozens of linen wish lanterns float against an illuminated deep-blue background as if just released into the night sky.

Guests will also find wall plaster and decorative details by Republic Finishes, a custom screen depicting moon phases fabricated by Objektfab, and oversize architectural elements including the backdrop behind the bar made by Gunnells Concrete Inc.