If you want a relaxing lunch with a restaurant architect, do not take them to a client’s place, says Cass Calder Smith, whose CCS Architecture has designed scores of projects in San Francisco over the last 20 years — and more recently in New York. “It is easy for me to dine at restaurants I haven’t designed, but it’s a bit distracting at the ones I have worked on,” he tells Hospitality Design. So don’t expect to see him at BLT Steak in New York or locally at the Plant. And though those restaurants are completely different, Smith follows the same path for all the places he designs. “First …clarify the concept, so the architecture and design can be in sync and support the concept. Then its about bringing food, people, and design together in the right ratio.” It’s natural he finds it hard to refrain from nit-picking — much like a chef eating at his or her own restaurant. But do the creative minds in the kitchen ever clash with those on the design team? Smith mentions chef Mark Gordon at San Francisco’s simplistic, brick-and-wood Terzo, as his favorite to work with. Terzo got three stars from the Chronicle, so maybe there’s something to be said for keeping both sides happy.
Meet the Minds Behind Restaurant Design [Hospitality Design]