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Online Exclusive - Cupola, San Francisco

Aug 15, 2012

By Ashleigh VanHouten; photography by Paul Dyer


Located under the dome on the fourth floor of the Westfield shopping center in San Francisco is Cupola, an upscale Italian pizzeria is not your typical mall restaurant. “The [shopping center] is a very fashion-forward place, and [the Lark Creek Restaurant Group] wanted to do a pizzeria with a connection to the vibe of fashion,” explains CCS Architecture founding principal Cass Calder Smith. “The name, Cupola, is in reference to the large dome of the mall that is the centerpiece of architecture for the area near the establishment.”

Smith says that his team worked closely with the owner and chef to “make sure the look and feel of the space was in sync with the menu.” The design challenge was a familiar one—creating a fashion-forward space on a limited budget—although Smith notes that getting approval on a wood-fired pizza oven wasn’t easy either.

From the mall, Cupola’s entry stands out with a curved Carrera tile façade. And in direct contrast to the homey, bucolic look that so many dining establishments today go to great efforts to achieve, the design goal for the restaurant was to “create a place that was not at all rustic, but sleek, colorful, and sexy,” inspired by the fashion runway or catwalk, referenced in the long red communal tables (Smith’s favorite element of the restaurant) that run the length of the space and lead straight to the star of the show—the Steffano Ferrara Uno Forno pizza oven, handmade in Italy and one of only two in San Francisco.

Polished, sexy details abound: rich graphic wallpaper lines the walls of the restaurant, interrupted intermittently by tall backlit mirrors; glass pendant lights float above, hung from the walnut wood slat ceiling; blackened steel shelving displays the wood needed to fuel the pizza oven; and the main dining area boasts solid walnut slab tables. And the fashion theme continues with shapely walls made in polished stainless steel—essentially more mirrors for the guests to admire themselves and their meals.






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hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.

 

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