ASID Icon - Winter 2011 - (Page 22)
Breaking the Curse
RESTAURANT “GRAVEYARD” COMES TO LIFE WITH CLEVER RENOVATION/ FIVE RESTAURANTS HAD already met their doom when James Beard Award-winning Chef Fabio Trabocchi selected the site for his muchanticipated return to Washington, D.C. Faced with the challenge of overcoming this “curse,” up-andcoming restaurant designer Griz Dwight, AIA, knew he had to unlock the mystery of why what should be a prime location had become a traffic killer. After stripping the interior down to its bones, the problem with the space became clear. It was constructed with three slightly different ﬂoor levels. Previous designs accentuated the split-level effect, thereby closing off views and creating service problems, resulting in an uninviting atmosphere for dining or lounging. “We wanted to push some energy into the space,” says Dwight, “but we needed to strike a balance between a lively bar scene and a relaxing dining experience.” The solution was to place the bar at the highest level, and then to build up the bottom level to create a single dining ﬂoor with better visibility and traffic ﬂow. The spaces are separated from one another by a 42” wall that helps contain the buzz from the bar without obstructing views to the dining area.
PROJECT SPECS/ Firm Name GrizForm Design Architects Principal and Owner Griz Dwight, AIA, LEED AP Design Team Architect: Michelle Bové, AIA, LEED AP Interior Designer: Brooke Loewen Kitchen Design: JRS Associates, Inc. WB Engineers: Metropolitan Consulting Engineers General Contract: Forrester Construction Location Fiola Washington, DC Photography by Paul Burk
In the main dining area, custom-designed leafy glass columns rise up to meet a bower-like golden tile ceiling that, together with the mix of natural woods, suggest a sunny Italian landscape. That ceiling also helps diffuse the noise that might otherwise drown out dinner conversation, as do the rugged stone walls reminiscent of an Italian villa. Designed to complement the menu’s comfortable opulence, Fiola is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. In his review for the Washington Post, food critic Tom Siestsema observed: And for a place that was envisioned as a trattoria, the restaurant oozes opulence. There are no linens dressing the tables, but spiral glass chandeliers and rosewood walls evoke an Italian villa. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. The setting, by GrizForm Design Architects, is beautiful. Opulent, yes, but functional too. Those dazzling chandeliers and rippling walls draw the eye from the bar to the dining room, where large, engaging paintings invite a closer look. The strategy works. Walk-in traffic makes up a substantial part of the restaurant’s business. “Locals will stop in for a drink and often end up staying for dinner,” adds Dwight. Great design, it seems, has ﬁnally lifted the curse. i
the magazine of the american society of interior designers
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASID Icon - Winter 2011
design for life
resource guide & advertisers
IP Focus 2011
ASID Icon - Winter 2011
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.