Matthew Tsang Creates a Serene Austin Ramen Restaurant

Udon Dining Chairs from Hem add an industrial edge to the dining area. Photography by Jeff Jones. 

Drawing on elements of various design principles, including Danish hygge, Japanese minimalism, and French Art Deco, interior designer Matthew Tsang creates a moment of escape in the Sazan Ramen restaurant. Located within a former karate studio in a central Austin strip mall, Tsang lifted the ceiling of the space by three feet to maximize incoming natural light while creating an open and airy environment for diners.

Carrera marble, terrazzo aggregate, and Gubi sconces surround the bar and apothecary. Photography by Jeff Jones. 

The focal point of the space is an antique apothecary that functions as a back-bar unit near the entrance, Tsang shares. A treasure found at a hardware store, its dark wood finish offers contrast to the bleached oak woods used for tables and bench seating in the dining room. Tsang notes that the piece “becomes a conversation point and offers a story upon closer inspection.” 

Three framed mixed-media pieces—vintage works done by an Asian-American Texas-based artist—and a framed sample of the plaster-sand material used for the bar's surrounding columns punctuates the back wall. Photography by Jeff Jones. 

Such can be said for other details of the restaurant, too. The French-inspired chevron flooring is composed of porcelain tiles indistinguishable from natural wood, but equipped to better withstand commercial use. And on the ceiling, Baux sound absorbing panels provide the background for linen Shoji chandeliers from Tsang’s Tissilent collection of objects and furniture, which explore the Asian-American experience in America through design. “The goal is creating something that would feel cohesive,” Tsang says, noting that ramen enthusiasts can appreciate his distinct pieces individually and as part of a whole.    

Inspired by ramen eateries in Japan, the fabric dividing curtain is from Taylor Murphy Design Studio. Photography by Jeff Jones.

The apothecary unit and bar are surrounded by textural columns covered in sand. Photography by Jeff Jones.

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