Design delivers a unique space in a unique place
Traditional patterns and colors with clean, contemporary forms in this restaurant’s design reflect the mission district’s exuberance and the authenticity of Eastern Mediterranean culture. In the small footprint, mini areas provide guests with different dining experiences with ambiance ranging from calm to whimsical. The cozy areas mitigate the compactness of the long, narrow space. Entering through a dramatic archway of custom octagram latticework, guests find a natural stone communal table in the center. Diners can get a full view of the kitchen in the warm, whimsical nook. Private dining is available in a hidden, lit basement den. A living wall in the back area reinforces the restaurant’s commitment to fresh, local ingredients.
TAWLA | San Francisco
size 2,400 sf
completion June 2016
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cmnd+m turnkey services
Nods to the restaurant’s name, which means backgammon in Arabic, include a patio area featuring backgammon boards built into the table surfaces. Thousands of 1-in. tiles adorn half-walls in the bar and kitchen to create backgammon point patterns. Taking inspiration from dye vats used throughout the Mediterranean, vivid hues anchor the design while directing eyes upwards toward the busy bar and kitchen areas. These include rusts for floor tiles and placing turquoises on the walls and backgammon tile installations. Neutrals add a calming backdrop.
A wall-to-ceiling installation of 300 Turkish coffee cups from Istanbul adds charm. A latticework structure anchoring the back wall of the bar serves as a wine rack, providing the protruding bottles with a dramatic frame. Copper wire fixtures with warm, welcoming Edison bulbs are draped, rather than mounted, to evoke feelings of an exotic market or a luxurious tent in the desert.
Interacting with the changing light, raised latticework creates dynamic morphing and weaving patterns as the sun moves across the sky and evokes the fractured light of a Mediterranean bazaar. Using shadows and light also establishes continuity between the main restaurant and private basement dining room.