• finished
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This is the cafeteria portion of the food program at the new California Academy of Sciences which, along with The Moss Room, we designed for chefs Charles Phan and Loretta Keller. The plan organizes the cooking and pickup into a series of stations, encouraging separate queuing for each one and enabling customers to self-determine their choice of line. The food here is extraordinary, we believe the best available in an institutional setting anywhere in the country, and it is very popular. It is not unusual for them to serve several thousand people in a day. The organizational model of the Café enables it to move a large number of people through very quickly, more than if we used the traditional single-line cafeteria model.
As for the design, we were deliberately very respectful of Renzo Piano's vision for the CAS, which is a very beautiful LEED Platinum building – one of the "greenest" buildings in the world. Our Café is very visible off the main exhibition space, and we felt it was important that it read as an extension of the museum's aesthetic. Polished concrete floors, white subway tile, black granite counters, and stainless steel trim all reinforce the aesthetic established by Mr. Piano, and we believe contribute to the success of the overall design. We have always been admirers of Mr. Piano's work – his buildings are often amazingly poetic, so we hope he likes our modest contribution to his masterpiece.

San Francisco | 2008

LD Team

David Battenfield
Nick Polansky

Project Team

Terra Nova Industries

Press and awards


Ryan Hughes, David Battenfield