Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 12/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
Harbor towns regularly surrender to their surroundings, with pubs steeped in maritime authenticity or boutiques drowning in nautical kitsch. But just two miles south of Boston's Long Wharf, Office dA's marine references avoid washed-up cliché. Gutting a 3,500-square-foot space inside the former Penny Savings Bank (thus the restaurant's name), principals Nader Tehrani and Monica Ponce de Leon installed a canopy of Baltic birch that resembles a nautilus shell—albeit a magnified, stretched, and abstracted one—concealing plumbing and lighting as it swoops down to encase the columns. Beneath this undulating seascape, bamboo plywood is the unifying medium of choice for flooring, tables, and banquettes. The only hint of contrast: Marco Ferreri's black chairs, standing like sleek punctuation marks amid the honey-toned palette.
Ministry of Design
project Royal China, Singapore.
standout In this 3,700-square-foot space at the Raffles Hotel, golden tones dominate the entry's wall covering, which was inspired by Chinese brocade, while a supersize mirror in a painted frame makes a row of tables appear to extend forever.
Dirk Denison Architects
project L20, Chicago.
standout Tall Macassar-ebony columns lead guests into the 7,400-square-foot space within the Belden Stratford, where niches of Japanese Sen wood and etched-glass screens put a 21st-century spin on Grand Hotel mystique.
Elliott + Associates Architects
project Red Prime Steak, Oklahoma City.
standout Interior Design Hall of Fame member Rand Elliott outfitted a 21,000-square-foot, 18-foot-high space with red neon tubes, making the original brick of this 1911 Buick showroom look even ruddier.