Located in an upscale shopping center designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the 7,500SF space is essentially a large glass cube with 14’ tall glass walls that sits at the terminus of a large public piazza. Given that the interior is visible from all four sides, we decided to make the preparation of food & drink the focal performance of the restaurant and positioned the open kitchen and bar directly in the center. We consolidated all mechanical equipment above the kitchen within a Shou Sugi Ban (charred wood)-clad volume, demarcating the open flame cooking area and invoking fire and heat. This also allowed us to keep the surrounding dining room ceilings high, maximizing light and views and facilitating a strong connection between the restaurant and exterior public courtyard. In the evening, the large kitchen glows warmly, visible through the glazed perimeter from the central exterior piazza as a kind of public hearth.
Emphasizing the central focus of the plan, the materials of the kitchen and bar are dark and textural while the surrounding dining areas are light and bright. The bar countertops are made of blackened steel and Nero Absoluto granite with a subtle hatch texture that feels soft to the touch, like a very dense wood. Our shop fabricated a custom host stand, which showcases half of a lengthwise split walnut tree trunk cantilevered off an existing column. We bored out the backside to house a concealed shelf for menus.
We tucked the private dining room on the opposite side of the public courtyard to provide privacy and views of the surrounding landscape. Patrons arrive here after a brief private tour through the open kitchen and dine at a custom table for 12 made by the Lundberg Shop using a single slab of Elm. The dining room has a visual connection to a smaller test kitchen, providing guests a continual interactive experience with the art of cooking.