It's that time of year when the AIA|LA reveals the winners of their Restaurant Design Awards. For the last two decades, the annual awards competition honors some of the best restaurant interior design in L.A.'s diverse culinary scene and beyond. The winning projects must resolve demanding functional needs while furnishing exemplary placemaking, the AIA says.
Honor, Merit, and Citation awards were given in three categories: Restaurants, Café/Bars, Lounge/Nightclubs. People's Choice Awards were also selected in each category. Have a look at this year's winning projects below.
(cover image) Honor Award, Restaurant: auburn (Los Angeles, California.) Designed by: ORA and Klein Agency
Jury comments: Understated elegance. | Nothing is out of proportion. |There’s a nice use of empty space – it’s allowed to breathe.
Honor Award, Restaurant: Vespertine (Culver City, California.) Designed by: Eric Owen Moss Architects
Jury comments: This could have easily turned very contrived, but didn’t. | It channels your experience of the building itself. | The experience is the architecture, the design, and the food.
Merit Award, Restaurant: Westheimer Restaurant (Houston, Texas.) Designed by: A Parallel Architecture
Jury comments: This is an example of how you can emphasize function while still having good design. | This is obviously—from the layout of the tables—very functional, very efficient, but there are elements you look for in good modern design.
Merit Award, Restaurant: Loro (Austin, Texas.) Designed by: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
Jury comments: It’s beautifully designed—the exposed beams and how the materials are managed with the combination of the different woods. | All of the it is very well done. | It has a modern ranch feel. | We like the paying of homage to the Texas oak roads. It makes us want to be in Austin.
Citation Award, Restaurant + People's Choice Award: Prime + Proper (Detroit, Michigan.) Designed by: McIntosh Poris Associates
Jury comments: It takes full advantage of the location—of being in Detroit. | It’s statement making: it telegraphs opulence and decadence. | It is almost like being in a gallery.
Citation Award, Restaurant: Jeune et Jolie (Carlsbad, California.) Designed by: Bells + Whistles
Jury comments: A Parisian bistro filtered through a California-beach lens. | It’s familiar but also feels like something we haven’t seen quite put together. | The kitchen really adds to the entire experience and the dining mood. | The layout takes advantage of the space, bringing all of this roundness to it. | For a small space, it’s very balanced.
Citation Award, Restaurant: La Lucha (Houston, Texas.) Designed by: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
Jury comments: Great details. Whether it’s the cabinetry or some of the wall art or the pattern in the ceiling – even if it isn’t always entirely cohesive—at every point, there was a great amount of thought given to details. | We like its quirkiness.
Honor Award, Café/Bar + People's Choice Award: Sidecar Doughnuts (Del Mar, California.) Designed by: Fleetwood Fernandez Architects
Jury comments: It plays really well into the theme of the donuts. | In the scale of that space, it’s very well proportioned, it’s very well executed. | The way the menus are integrated into the wall, the flavors being on the wall—is very well thought out.
Merit Award, Café/Bar: The Heroic (Santa Monica, California.) Designed by: Preen, Inc
Jury comments: This was a striking space—the way the light fixture comes from the upper floor down to the lower floor. | The use of the textures—it’s not overdone. | It offers a lot of visual eye candy without overdoing it. | The furniture design adds a lot to the design.
Citation Award, Café/Bar: P6 (Austin, Texas.) Designed by: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
Jury comments: We like the natural light and the openness. | It’s nice when you see that it doesn’t seem to be in a building; it could be in a backyard, it could be anywhere.
Merit Award, Lounge/Nightclub: Raised By Wolves (San Diego, California.) Designed by: BASILE Studio
Jury comments: We respect the vision. | The atrium with the carousel is a very well thought out space. | The pivoting wall and the layout are interesting.
Merit Award, Lounge/Nightclub + People's Choice Award: Bar Henry (Los Angeles, California.) Designed by: Aero Collective
Jury comments: A very warm inviting vibe. | It draws you in. | The space between the bar and the seating area is really thought out for people to mingle or dance. | It’s a space meant for people.
Citation Award, Lounge/Nightclub: The Fillmore New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana.) Designed by: EwingCole
Jury comments: We love the touch of the candles of different lengths over and arranged around the bar. It highlights the voodoo theme nicely. | This is all about the mood.
Citation Award, Lounge/Nightclub: LOUIX LOUIS, (Toronto, Canada.) Designed by: DesignAgency
Jury comments: The details stand out: whether it’s a light fixture or some of the bar fixtures, there is a level of attention to detail you might not see at a hotel bar. | We like the play on the theme of liquid against cut glass.
2019 RDA Jury:
Ezequiel Farca, Intl. Assoc. AIA – CEO/Founder, Ezequiel Farca; Hans Rockenwagner – Owner, Rockenwagner Bakeries/Cafes; and Garrett Snyder – Food Editor, Los Angeles Magazine
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