GABI JAMES RESTAURANT, 2018
Signaled by a cities multi-year, development plan, this project - a favorite local dining establishment, was re-branded and re-worked from menu to street interface.
A dining floor at the ground level, once tucked away behind a neo-classical arcade, was opened up to the street by means of reinforcements to existing beams and the placement of an expansive, pocketing glass door. An under-used, open-air patio deck above was re-thought as a ‘Secluded Lounge’ for casual dining and special events.
Enclosure of this space was carefully planned and considered the architectural qualities of natural light and reflectivity, balancing those against public / private needs in the desired level of transparency. A suspended timber screen of cedar staves, spaced in half distances from one another was tasked to achieve such goals.
A prefabricated carrying system of bolt-able steel struts and CNC milled aluminum angle was designed to suspend this new surface out from the existing building line, essentially as a timbered curtain. Tension-able steel tie-rods connecting these systems handle all vertical and lateral loading produced by the new design.
Compositionally, the screen, in its ambiguous messaging (textured and impervious by day, transparent and invitational by evening) sits in stark contrast, atop the deeply recessed, granitic toned volumes below - the cavernous openings of which unmistakably ‘Open for Business’. Tangerine-hued neon signage, as a cultural artifact of times past mediates upper and lower floor messaging while remaining largely introductory to an inner program.
The theme of ‘Communicative Opposites’ continues on the interior rendered in bronzed steel, white oak, patinaed metal and Italian leather as primary architectural finishes – both recognizable and commanding prestige. Conversely, the ‘Atmospheric Layer’ of otherworldly materials pushes back against convention in a gradient-hued horizon set a flame by a cosmic shower of amorphic, molten luminaries. Chaos and rebirth, as in the formation of a new galaxies, new horizons.
This is Gabi James. LA.