This year's AIA|LA Restaurant Design Awards winners have been announced. Among the nine winners, entries from the west coast of the United States and Mexico were selected for their abilities to "provide backdrop[s] that enhances and supports cuisine." A brand-new 'Unbuilt' designation has been added to the 14-year-old honors this year as well.
Awards also were given in the Restaurant, Café, and Bar categories as well as People's Choice Awards within each category. A full list of winners can be viewed below.
Honor Award, Restaurants: Damian (Los Angeles, California). Designed by Taller ADG in collaboration with Estudio MD
Jury comments: "Damian is the whole package. The design is simple yet stunning. Every single material, color, lighting and staging choice plays an important role in creating the overall look and feel of this space. It’s not overdone, yet the design clearly communicates an ambiance and a vibe. We also love the outdoor space, the taco shop and the fact that the design pays homage to — and even highlights — the industrial feel of this neighborhood."
Merit Award, Restaurants: Kemuri Ramen Bar (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico). Designed by Design Opera
Jury Comments: "Simple, classic, understated and perfectly executed. Great, bold design for such a small space. Incredible details and material selection. Every color, tone, texture and even material reflectance was considered. The jury loved the countertop, the black on black back of line and use of different woods."
Merit Award, Restaurants: LA Puglia (Santa Monica, California). Designed by Twichell Studio: architects
Jury comments: "LA Puglia is a neighborhood gem. It’s both charming, chic in places, gritty in others and, clearly, from a single point-of-view but it’s not fussed-over and maintains a casual warmth the jurors enjoyed. The new facade, storefront, patio and planting should be commended, a huge improvement on what was there and it dramatically increases the identity and presence of the restaurant from the street. The way the designers reused parts of the existing building added layers of visual interest."
Merit Award, Restaurants: Verve Coffee Roastery del Sur (Los Angeles, California). Designed by Design, Bitches.
Jury comments: "Verve Roastery Del Ser embraces the classic Southern California feeling. Just breezy, welcoming, warm, and a place you want to stay for awhile. The curtains are not closed here: their design allows you to see all the behind-the-scenes and production of the coffee they are making."
Citation Award, Cafés: Lido Cafe & Bar (Santa Barbara, California). Designed by Beleco
Jury comments: "Lido Cafe & Bar has a great open and airy feeling to it. The arches and floral hand drawn artwork on the walls even add to this breezy feel, which makes a lot of sense for a Santa Barbara Café."
Honor Award, Bars: Rupee Bar (Seattle, Washington). Designed by Heliotrope Architects
Jury comments: "It’s obvious that every element of this space has been carefully and thoughtfully designed. The Sri Lankan-inspired design is not overdone or overwhelming, it’s subtle and nuanced, but still hints at the cuisine. The warm, rich wood tones balance the peacock green perfectly, with just enough tile for this very small space. The lighting fixtures and the polish brass accents help complete the full picture. The end result is a bar that is cozy and intimate; we’d like to spend a few hours sipping cocktails or having a date night here."
(cover image) Citation Award, Bars: Alma’s Cider & Beer (Los Angeles, California). Designed by Design, Bitches
Jury comments: "A great example of bold design in a very small space. This feels like a true neighborhood bar — warm, welcoming, comfortable, cozy and fun. The blue color throughout the space is spunky and fun, without overpowering the footprint. We also particularly loved the addition of the diorama!"
Honor Award, Restaurants (Unbuilt): Elementa Hotel Restaurant and Bar (Valle De Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico). Designed by Design Opera
Jury comments: "Even though this one is unbuilt, it’s obvious that the architects and designers have a laser-focused vision for this restaurant and bar. This is a great example of blurring the lines between indoor spaces and outdoor spaces; the restaurant feels truly integrated with and complementary of the surrounding landscape."
Citation Award, Cafés (Unbuilt): The Art Room (Los Angeles, California). Designed by AUX Architecture in collaboration with PanoramAH!
Jury comments: "The risk-taking and innovative design of the kinetic facade is impressive. We also appreciated that the dining spaces were designed with flexibility in mind, and we liked the mixed uses of this development."
PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS WINNERS
Restaurant: LA Puglia (Santa Monica, California). Designed by Twichell Studio: architects.
Cafe: Lido Cafe & Bar (Santa Barbara, California). Designed by Beleco.
Bar: Rupee Bar (Seattle, Washington). Designed by Heliotrope Architects.
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