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2017 AIA|LA Restaurant Design Award Winners
and People’s Choice Award Recipients announced
by American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA)


Friday, June 23, 2017 (Los Angeles)—The winners of the 2017 AIA|LA Restaurant Design Awards (RDAs), were announced today in a ceremony at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, California. The RDAs celebrate Los Angeles’ global leadership as a tastemaker, literally and figuratively, and the role of design throughout the globe.

AIA|LA RDA winners are chosen by a multi-disciplinary jury with expertise, from varied view points, in successful restaurant design. This year’s jury was: writer Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times; architect Aaron Neubert, AIA, Founder and Principal Architect ANX / Aaron Neubert Architects; and restaurateur Caroline Styne, Restaurateur and co-owner of The Lucques Group (Lucques, a.o.c, Tavern, The Larders, Larder Baking Company and operators of Food + Wine at the Hollywood Bowl).

To view the 2017 AIA|LA Restaurant Design Awards Winners and People’s Choice Recipient’s click on the slideshow or note finalist credits (and jury notes) by name via list below.
Winner, Restaurant Category: Cassia, Santa Monica, CA.  Designed by: Montalba Architects, Inc.  Photo: John LindenWinner, Restaurant Category: Little Octopus, Nashville, TN.  Designed by: Design, Bitches.  Photo: Lisa Dilow & Nashville GuruWinner, Restaurant Category: Salazar, Los Angeles, CA.  Architect: Project M+. Landscape Designer: The Yard (Samantha Gore). Interior Design: The Yard (Samantha Gore) + Project M+.  Photo: Darcy HemleyWinner, Cafe/Bar Category: Beer Belly, Long Beach, CA.  Designed by: MAKE Architecture.  Photo: Monika M. Armstrong
Winner, Cafe/Bar Category: Little Ground Café, Los Angeles, CA.  Designed by: WORD. Photo: Christopher WarrenWinner, Lounge/Nightclub Category: Break Room 86, Los Angeles, CA  Designed by: Houston Hospitality. Photo: Dylan & JeniWinner, People’s Choice Award, Restaurant: Felix Trattoria, Venice, CA. Designed by: Wendy Haworth Design Studio. Photo: Wonho Frank LeeWinner, People’s Choice Award, Cafe/Bar: Little Ground Café, Los Angeles, CA. Designed by: WORD. Photo: Christopher Warren
Winner, People’s Choice Award, Lounge/Nightclub: Avenue LA, Los Angeles, CA, Designed by: Rockwell Group Photo: Warren Jagger / Alen Lin

The 2017 AIA|LA Restaurant Design Awards Winners are:

Category: Restaurant (3 winners)

Cassia, Santa Monica, CA. Designed by: Montalba Architects, Inc. Photo: John Linden
Jury Comments: This is just a purely beautiful space. The ceiling heights, the textures, the surfaces, the layout are super inviting. It feels serious yet fun, big and modern, yet intimate. | We loved the light, we loved the white tile, and you can see the concrete beams of the original building. | The detailing was very well executed and thoughtful, and the selection of materials and the overall composition was highly considered.

Little Octopus, Nashville, TN. Designed by: Design, Bitches. Photo: Lisa Dilow & Nashville Guru
Jury Comments: We loved that a lot of things about this were surprising—the quirk of the bar, the white ceilings, which made the space super sunny, the quilted corral fabrics, the Japanese-like banquettes, the mid-century lamps. | Meticulously done, without feeling overdone. It’s pretty and tasteful and elegant without the theme being shoved down your throat. It’s very concise. It’s very thoughtful. | We like the condition of where the infill restaurant makes its presence known on the exterior façade. That was very well done.

Salazar, Los Angeles, CA. Architect: Project M+. Landscape Designer: The Yard (Samantha Gore). Interior Design: The Yard (Samantha Gore) + Project M+. Photo: Darcy Hemley
Jury Comments: We love that, at a time when everyone is repurposing things, the reuse of the building was wonderful. It really engages the neighborhood. | We love the joy of the whole project. The architectural elements are beautiful but the natural quality of the environment shines through in an authentic way. | The idea of the restaurant as a landscape, as a garden, resonated.


Category: Cafe/Bars (2 winners)

Beer Belly, Long Beach, CA. Designed by: MAKE Architecture. Photo: Monika M. Armstrong
Jury Comments: We thought it was interesting that we couldn’t tell the difference between renderings and actual design. That was significant. | The wood work is so graphic and so strong. It really has a big impact without going over the top in terms of décor and design.

Little Ground Café, Los Angeles, CA. Designed by: WORD. Photo: Christopher Warren
Jury Comments: It had a lot of impact with very few elements. | We loved the communal aspect and its materials and how it engages the neighborhood. | We responded positively to the graphic sensibility of the wood screen, and also the urban and social engagement of the corner.


Category: Lounge/Nightclub (1 winner)

Break Room 86, Los Angeles, CA Designed by: Houston Hospitality. Photo: Dylan & Jeni
Jury Comments: It has such a sense of fun and we love the creative aspects that they put together. | The theme permeated all aspects of the project and incorporated components of TV and Record Album into the architectural. | All of these lounges work on a theme, but this one stoked me the most in terms of, not only the décor, but the interactive aspect of it for the guests. Going in there and being able to immerse yourself in this idea of the break room and the karaoke and the music: it almost felt more authentic in its craziness.


The 2017 RDA People’s Choice Awards were also revealed at the June 23 ceremony, which was hosted by interior designer and restaurateur Barbara Lazaroff, ASID. People’s Choice Awards are selected by the public through Internet vote. This year eleven tasty ‘finalists’ chosen by the RDA jury to be voted on by the public. Voting opened on Tuesday, June 6. Last call was 12:00pm, noon, on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

2017 AIA|LA Restaurant Design Award’s People’s Choice Awards Recipients are:

Category: Restaurant

Felix Trattoria, Venice, CA. Designed by: Wendy Haworth Design Studio and David Hertz, FAIA Photo: Wonho Frank Lee

Category: Cafe/Bars

Little Ground Café, Los Angeles, CA. Designed by: WORD. Photo: Christopher Warren

Category: Lounge/Nightclub

Avenue LA, Los Angeles, CA, Designed by: Rockwell Group Photo: Warren Jagger / Alen Lin

For a slide show of all finalists, please visit:
http://www.aialosangeles.org/home-page-latest-news/restaurant-design-awards-peoples-choice-2017
Contact Tibby Rothman for High Rez images at: tibby@aialosangeles.org

Preceding the announcement of winners, designers for all eleven finalists and winners participated the AIA|LA’s annual Behind Great Restaurant Design at Dwell on Design Panel. The panel provides an illuminating and engaging look at the design process of each restaurant, café or bar, and jury thoughts on successful qualities in each.

About the AIA|LA Restaurant Design Awards
Now in its, thirteenth year, the AIA|LA RDAs have served as a launching point for talented new designers who have subsequently establish themselves as innovative successful designers in the typology. Alexis Readinger, Assoc. AIA, of Preen, Inc. and Design, Bitches, Catherine Johnson, AIA, and Rebecca Rudolph, AIA, are RDA alumni as winners. RDA recipients have also included well-established architects realizing prestigious and popular restaurants locally, nationally, and abroad such as Richard Meier & Partners Architects, Montalba Architects and Belzberg Architects. Though the RDAs invite and celebrate entries from across the globe, the tenure of the awards program parallels the rise of Los Angeles as a culinary capital.

Contact Tibby Rothman for High Rez images at: tibby@aialosangeles.org

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Last updated: 23-Jun-2017 05:05 PM
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