Dish

Designs That Kill

Myers says he doesn't like to follow formulas. “When people create definitive rules, they miss out on opportunies,” he claims. He will acknowledege, however, that he's perfectly willing to indulge in whimsy. “Love it or hate it,” he says about his designs, “all I want is a reaction.”

Of course, most restaurateurs want the customers' reactions to be positive. To that end some choose to do the designing themselves. Jan Jorgensen and Soren Bredahl of Two Chefs delved deep into feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, when arranging their space. “Round things make people relax, while sharp corners make people on edge,” explains Jorgensen. “In the dining room, everything from the chandeliers to the backs of the chairs is round. But in the kitchen, we have a lot of sharp edges to keep everyone on their toes.” He laughs but he's also quite serious. “Even the flow of the restaurant, from the bar to the dining room to the kitchen, is like a circle.”

Flow, apparently, is something that not enough restaurateurs consider when they want to open a new eatery. Architect Charles Benson, who designed Parrilla del Polo, describes flow as transition from one part of the restaurant to another. “You don't want interruptions,” he says, whether they be by service areas or staircases or tiny hallways. He cites the space at 530 Ocean Dr. as a flow problem, since it features steps leading from the bar to the dining room, which itself has “no headroom.” When you're a restaurateur, Benson says, you have to take into account the “dimensions of the space, the restrictions and encroachments into the space, not to mention the infrastructure -- the plumbing, electric, even the approaches from the street.” All these elements, Benson points out, can disturb the dining experience when not handled properly.

Jeremy Eaton

Location Info

Map

Nemo Restaurant

100 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach

Big Pink Restaurant South Beach

157 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach

Baleen

4 Grove Isle Drive
Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Coconut Grove

Touch

910 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach

Flow is so important that Robbin Haas convinced Noble House not only to redecorate Baleen (formerly Mark's at Grove Isle) when he took it over but to virtually reposition it. Previously to find the entrance to the restaurant, you had to wend your way through hallways and walk past meeting rooms. Now gutted and rebuilt, Baleen has its own private entryway. “We didn't want just lipstick and rouge. The restaurant had to have its own identity,” Haas emphasizes. Still, “we didn't want it too trendy. A simple black dress will always be in style.” The compromise -- stylish but not boring, thanks to a monkey theme throughout -- seems to be working well enough to allow Haas and Noble House to open two more Baleens, the first to debut in San Diego on October 1.

By the same design standards, insiders can also predict which restaurants will make it -- and which might not succeed -- based on their designs. “The [Blue Door at the] Delano is really beautiful, with a big creative force behind it,” Schwartz offers. On the other hand, Dupoux, who currently is redesigning the flow for Pearl, a 7000-square-foot eatery that will open in the Penrod's complex, notes that “Bambú has bad flow. It's a difficult space to work with.”

Bambú's walls are sort of a greenish color. Together the two elements could portend a fate à la Aquaterra and Fish. Or they could be nothing more than designers' superstition. But chances are it won't be the customer who's able to tell.

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