The Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|LA) announced the 2022 winners of its coveted annual Restaurant Design Award in a special ceremony held last night in Downtown LA.
In a year defined by a return to in-person dining, seven projects stood out for their design flexibility and ability to create an enchanting epicurean experience for diners. Awards were given to the Best Café, Best Restaurant, and Best Al Fresco Café or Restaurant categories, with two additional projects named "People's Choice" winners by online voters.
Architect Anthony Poon of Poon Design and top Atlanta-area chef Jennifer Hill Booker comprised of the two-person jury for the award’s 17th edition. Compared to previous years, entries from around the world were considered without regard to AIA membership status and on the condition that they each be completed no later than January 1, 2018.
"As an organization that represents the architecture and design professions, we want to recognize outstanding achievements in a category that demands a unique blend of form and function," AIA|LA Executive Director Carlo Caccavale said at the ceremony. "Ultimately, restaurants are among our most important gathering places. Our collective experience of these past couple of years underscores even more significantly their value and purpose in our everyday lives and in our communities."
A full list of winners can be viewed below.
CAFÉS - MERIT AWARD
Dripp Coffee Bar by Abramson Architects
Costa Mesa, CA
Jury comments: "Dripp Coffee Bar's retro vibe gives you a boost before your first sip. The 'coffee drip' wall style gives added height and depth to what otherwise would have been a cramped space."
BEST AL FRESCO RESTAURANT/CAFÉ - HONOR AWARD
BOTTEGA LOUIE - WEHO by BULLI
West Hollywood, CA
Jury comments: "This luxurious design is intoxicating in all its excess and indulgence. I applaud the investigation and fetishization of every possible detail–every species of stone and vein of marble. The floor plan's openness is more than simply flexible space and fresh air; it is a story of community engagement, letting the city in, allowing a restaurant to breathe. Bottega Louie is an endeavor of true artisanal craft and perspiration, never letting any moment go unconsidered."
RESTAURANT - HONOR & PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD
Kodō by M Royce Architecture in collaboration with Gry Space
Los Angeles, CA
Jury comments: "So rare to see such elemental beauty and exquisite simplicity. The modest palette and an economy of moves speak softly but memorably. A restaurant does not need to shout to make an impactful statement. Rarely has such moodiness become so haunting and brilliant. Rarely has such melancholy become so raw and sublime. The design is not just a strategic combination of concrete, stone, and metal, but a palette of history and magnificence."
RESTAURANT - HONOR AWARD
Masaryčka Restaurant by archicraft
Prague, Czech Republic
Jury comments: "The design wonderfully plays with scale both grand and intimate. The unassuming palette of taupes and blacks handsomely complements the soft white backdrop of classical arches, columns, and cornices from Prague's oldest steam-engine railway station. The delicate steel framework implies individual social areas while still embracing the collection of diners. The signature ceiling treatment unifies the restaurant with striking sculptural personality, reading like an art installation."
RESTAURANT - MERIT AWARD
Yunomi Handroll by Design Opera
Los Angeles, CA
Jury comments: "With this reductive approach of a handful of thoughtful ideas, the results deliver drama, charm, and sensuality. Surfaces are sculpted, treated with the human touch, glazed with the human soul. Blacks, grays, and whites appear vibrant and rich in tone. Whether a seashell, enigma, water ripples, or land topography, the feature wall creates an Alice-in-Wonderland invitation to the unknown. Using traditional materials in a contemporary manner honors the legacies of a culture while looking to the future."
RESTAURANT - CITATION
Prime by Preen Inc. (Cover Photo)
Jury comments: "Careful thought was put into Prime restaurant's interior lines, creating the illusion of floating in air. The cohesiveness of multiple rooms in such a large space speaks to the clever use of scale and design."
CAFÉ - PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD
Rykn Cafe by M Royce Architecture in collaboration with Gry Space
Los Angeles, CA
Learn more about this year's winning restaurant and cafe projects here.
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