Nautical wit—think a rowboat-shape table—guides a Barry Design Associates restaurant renovation
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 3/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Although the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California, easily attracts guests to its 306-room property overlooking the Pacific Ocean, efforts to tempt visitors to dine in had been less than stellar in recent years. Thus, to update the hotel's dining experience while staying within the framework of the Ritz-Carlton's lush and traditional identity, the owners made two decisions. One was to rechristen the restaurant and bar Jer-ne, a phonetic play off the word "journey." The other was to appoint Bob Barry of Barry Design Associates. Barry sought to mix the old with the new but keep every inch of the ground-floor space luxurious.
The open-plan restaurant is directly off the hotel's reception area, so guests can relax in the lobby lounge before dinner. Here, on the traditional side, deep sofas flank a neoclassical limestone mantelpiece. But contemporary custom rugs break away from the conservative aesthetic, with free-flowing, modern curves inspired by the movement of waves. Overhead, wood molding encircles the base of a dome that's silver-leafed and glazed a honey hue. From the dome's 14-foot-high center hangs a single translucent glass pendant, which adds its brightness to concealed lighting and the flames of a lively fire.
A similar ceiling treatment in the center of the dining zone features two square, modern acrylic lighting fixtures. "There's a whimsical quality here—they're intended to be abstract versions of a chandelier," explains Barry. The designer also put a contemporary spin on the communal dining table that sits beneath. Not the conventional rectangular slab, the 18-seat tabletop constructed of up-lit onyx is shaped like a rowboat to reiterate the marine theme. Black granite flooring sets this spot apart from the rest of the space, where Barry installed alternating stripes of walnut and maple.
Lone diners and groups can gather at the communal table or just off the main dining area, in a bar that mingles all the design elements found at Jer-ne as a whole. The bar's counter is black granite, and silver-leafed cabinetry is honey-glazed. Behind the bar, a circular frame that highlights a rare magnum of 1992 Nicolas Feuillatte is also reminiscent of a porthole to remind diners of the sailing vessels outside. Bon voyage!