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restaurant, bar, concept, architecture, interior

A restaurant, with a bar in the basement.

My brother Tie and I always had the idea to open a restaurant together. We were quite familiar with restaurants, since our parents ran one of the earliest Chinese restaurants in Vienna. With a close friend, Dong Ngo, we started to think of what kind of restaurant we would like to have.
ra’mien opened in 2002. It became an instant success. It is still one of the most popular Asian restaurants in Vienna.

In the basement of the restaurant, we installed the ra’mien bar. With the restaurant’s architecture and design upstairs, most people do not really expect to find a bar in the basement. Conceptually and visually, we wanted to create a stark contrast between both spaces. The interior of the ra’mien bar also made use of the decoration from my parent’s restaurant in Berlin Mitte—as I did for coming home—daily structures of life. After the restaurant in Berlin closed down, the classic Chinese interior was dismantled and brought to Austria. Years later, my brother and I thought it would be an interesting reference to Chinese restaurants of a certain era, but used in a completely new context; like a farewell to the past. Conceptually, it was interesting to use the interior of a former restaurant for a bar: instead of pork chop suey and sweet and sour chicken, gin and tonics and mojitos were served.

In 2003, I left ra’mien because I felt there were more and more compromises I did not want to make. Basically, it was a clash between a business- and profit-oriented thinking, and an artistic and conceptual reasoning. With success comes profit, and with profit comes the desire of profit maximization. This had been the case with ra’mien and also later with ra’mien go. Working on restaurants still requires a constant balancing between those interests in favour of a stronger business direction, and my own conceptual, artistic agenda. Even though I would go on to open more restaurants, I am fully aware that this balancing act would continue and that it implies constant fights and negotiations. Actually, I was part of these projects as long as I could champion and step in for the ideas connected to those projects.

tue – sun 11:00 – 24:00
Gumpendorferstraße 9 | 1060 Vienna | Austria
T: 01 585 47 98
E: info@ramien.at

Architecture: Jun Yang, Sophie Thalbauer, Dong Ngo, Tie Yang


> ra’mien (restaurant webpage)
> ra’mien bar (bar webpage)
> ra’mien go

ra'mien tableware produced with Tatung, Taipei
ra'mien bar