Tannis Ling tells us what motivated her to install a neon sign outside her restaurant.

Museum of Vancouver

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Tannis Ling tells us what motivated her to install a neon sign outside her

It had always been a dream of mine to put a neon sign up because it’s
reminiscent of old Chinatown.

I know the city was trying to revitalize this area by offering these grants and
encouraging more people to put up signs like this.

I have always loved the artwork of neon signs and just how it reminds us of the
past, and just how much life they bring to the street.

Inspiration for both the Bao Bei sign and distinctive interior design comes through
a book, Tannis says.

I found this book, it’s called Hong Kong Apothecary. It’s just a book of
pictures, and it’s just a collection of labels and bottles and there’s a lot of ornate
motifs and certain shapes that they use that they repeat quite often. So I wanted
that kind of delicate, apothecary, Asian look to it.

While the look of Bao Bei evokes nostalgia for an old style of Chinese
commercial design, the menu and Tannis’ vision for her business keeps a steady
eye on the present and future. Tannis’ vision for Bao Bei contrasts sharply with
traditional Chinese restaurants.

I took care to make this an enticing, comfortable environment for people to come
down to and have a more intimate dining experience, rather than dining in a
huge restaurant with huge tables and really bright lights and no music and no bar
program at all.

Chinatown used to be an exciting place to be back in the 60’s, and I really
wanted to recreate that kind of atmosphere here.

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