We did a deep dive into the foodie world in October, as we do every fall in our annual restaurant issue. We often cover eateries and F&B concepts but this is the issue where we give the industry our full attention. And much like the hospitality world in general, the very concept of dining has changed, drawing on authenticity, locality, and adapting to the new idea of luxury.
One of those projects that highlights the ever-changing restaurant world is Chicago eatery Cafe Spiaggia, which tasked Studio K Creative with its revamp. And Chicago is nothing if not a food town (if you’ve ever had Portillo’s beef or Lou Malnati’s frozen deep dish pizza mailed to your house in New York, you know this) and it’s good testing ground for innovative restaurant design.
Karen Herold, principal of the locally based firm, says the restaurant’s new look, a laidback eatery that offers a refined charm, is meant to appeal to younger diners. We “created an environment that is both chic and sophisticated,” she says. Think traditional Italian with a rustic kitchen. “We choose a light and breezy color palette and incorporated many classic elements combined with contemporary accents.”
Herold played with perspective within the space, making the narrow area feel bigger and more current by brightening it up and removing the old murals that covered the walls, replacing them with “soft white Italian plaster and carefully crafted millwork,” she says. “We wanted to ensure that the restaurant would still appeal to the current guests in addition to attracting a new, younger crowd.”
Marble café tables, white leather banquettes, and black and white wall art that reflects the food being prepared add a modern touch while decorative lighting elements add drama and whimsy. The stunning green room is the highlight of the renovated space for Herold. Before the redesign, it was “tucked away” and underutilized. Studio K covered the walls in green and silver-striped foil wallcovering and added green-tufted sofas. “It transformed the room into the most desired space in the house.”