Ammo is situated at the new Asia Society Hong Kong Center in Admiralty, a museum in central Hong Kong.
The restaurant and bar is built within a former explosives magazine compound created by the British army in the mid-19th century.
Ammo, a slang term for ammunition, is also an acronym for Asia, Modern, Museum and Original. The phrase acknowledges the café’s Asian roots, its modern cross-cultural cuisine, its unique position within a heritage museum, and its original concept.
Joyce Wang is Managing Director at Wang Fang Construction who was the main contractor on the project. Joyce told Premier Construction about the project:
“The space is within a venue which promotes conservation between Hong King and Asia in general, and the USA, for events, performances and cultural exchange.
“The site used to be an ammunitions storage facility back in the 1940’s and 1950’s so basically nobody had stepped foot on it for 50 years until the government released a plot of land.
“The context of the space was really inspirational – it’s nestled in a jungle looking environment of Hong Kong so it’s among a lot of different high rises, but you have this low set glass cube and then open views to the jungle and skyscape. I think it’s a really surreal setting and for me it was room to do something really cinematic and dramatic.”
After passing through the urban oasis-like entrance decorated with greens, stones and rocks, you enter the contrasting modern venue. Featuring bunker-like high-ceilings, chandeliers and military and industrial elements, the overall setting reminds diners of the area’s explosives magazine history.
“The ceiling is around seven metres high so we wanted to really play with that and also with unsung the ammunition theme.
“We wanted to use architectural elements to draw people’s eyes up to the ceiling. The predominant material in the restaurant is copper, which is something that you see in a military setting. We had three staircases built out of copper pipe and I think that was what really drew me in. It works nicely with greenery outside with the greens and oranges – as copper oxidises it kind of goes through a life of its own and it changes colour.
“Also we knew it was going to be for a really good cause – people were going to go there to go to the museum. It is somewhat of a museum cafe but we brought it to the next level and turned it into a place of fine dining.”
The project started in January 2012 and was completed in May 2012 and now has a long waiting list, making it one of the most popular restaurants in Hong Kong.
“It’s done really well, it’s a really good spot for the business crowd of Hong Kong and it’s a quieter setting where you can have a more private sort of meeting.
“We are a relatively young company but we’ve worked on a variety of projects. We worked on a hotel in Los Angeles was a 1950’s heritage building set in the Palm Springs area called The Hollywood Roosevelt.
“We’ve also worked on a 15,000 ft office space in Hong Kong, another restaurant and a couple of residences. We’re really keen to expand our work to the UK as well as Hong Kong and the USA.”