E Studio’s Meow restaurant is a fresh, wellbeing-centric interpretation of the traditional Japanese cat café, this time located in Guangzhou, China. Rose Dykins reports
Taking the cat café concept to a new level, Meow restaurant in Guangzhou, China, is geared towards helping cat lovers find a sense of calm.
The phenomenon of cat cafés – which boomed in Japan, and Tokyo in particular, ten years ago – is not purely about feline fanatics chasing adorable Instagram content. Often, visitors are visiting these spaces for their healing properties.
The medical benefit of cat cafés has been documented by ethnographic researcher Lorraine Plourde, who describes their role in tackling urban loneliness. Plourde’s research found visitors’ main motivation for frequenting cat cafés was in fact to relieve themselves of stress, anxiety and depression.
Meow restaurant feels like a luxurious, spa-like interpretation of Tokyo’s cat cafés. Its layout is conducive to lounging and relaxation, with intuitive architecture that encourages interaction between humans and cats.Architectural firm E Studio has repurposed a redbrick warehouse in Guangzhou’s Haizu district to offer various enticing zones for 50 formerly stray cats to hang out with customers.
Described by E Studio as a “cat forest” without trees, the space uses blocks and platforms to connect different areas. The 300 sqm restaurant is designed and scaled in relation to cats.
For example, the central “terrace” field is shaped like a cat, and has different levels that accommodate different behaviours of both humans and cats.