Award-winning Colorado architecture firm serves up fresh artisanal approach in Denver
Denver, Colo. – Dec. 15, 2015 – Award-winning architecture firm Arch11 continues to contribute fresh, contemporary entries to the Denver/Boulder area’s thriving casual dining scene with two recently completed projects and another readying to open this month – plus more in the pipeline. Even as Denver’s booming restaurant business attracts national attention for innovation, Arch11’s restaurant design portfolio—which includes such Denver and Boulder favorites as Jax, Lolas, Bitter Bar and Oak at Fourteenth—continues to grow.
Most recently, Arch11 melded elements of rustic East Coast oyster shacks with Denver’s hip and artisanal dining trends in the tony Cherry Creek neighborhood. The open kitchen design and central shucking counter at Blue Island Oyster Bar highlight the growing desire for experiential dining where customers can see their food prepared. “With baskets of oysters on ice right in front of diners, customers express how intimately connected they are to their food and the story of oysters,” explains Arch11 principal and lead architect on the project Ken Andrews.
Repeat client Concept Restaurants, for whom Arch11 designed Ignite! and Humboldt, decided to bring an authentic oyster bar to the Denver market. Taking cues from well-worn beach-side oyster joints, Arch11 complied, creating a comfortable, communal atmosphere minus the nautical cliché. Blue leather booths and weathered wood floors and wall paneling provide a coastal patina, an enlarged NOAA map of the Great South Bay of Long Island indicates oyster origins and oar-like elements are suspended over the bar. The handcrafted nature of the space reflects Arch11’s dedication to finely articulated ideas realized in 3D, Andrews notes—and the roundup of careful detail earned Blue Oyster a top-five ranking on Eater Denver’s “stone-cold stunner” list of 2015 restaurant designs.
Arch11 also helped design recently opened Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Located in the Prospect Park area near Coors Field where industrial loft conversions and high-density new-builds dominate, the collaboration with a team assembled by the Tavern Hospitality Group envisioned “a timeless bar atmosphere that would be the social hub of the neighborhood,” explains Andrews. The restaurant’s earthy palette of concrete, steel, and wood―highlighted with warm washes of soft golden light―sets a sociable tone with a splash of sophistication. And at 3,200 sq. ft., the 1930s former bag factory offers an intimate drinking and dining experience (with spacious rooftop deck) that distinguishes it from the city’s ever-popular expansive craft beer halls.
In the up-and-coming category, Chef Steven Redzikowski (Eater Denver’s Chef of the Year) and beverage director Bryan Dayton—the successful partners behind award-winning Oak at Fourteenth—have once again enlisted Arch11 to create their soon-to-open fast-casual rotisserie restaurant, Brider (named for the French word for “tying,” a technique championed by the likes of Julia Child for optimal roasting results), set to open in the newly minted five-story Nichols Building in the Central Platte Valley.
“The space didn’t have a history or patina of its own, so we had to create it,” says Andrews. Settling on a timeless “old world” kitchen feel, Andrew’s team applied a palette of classic materials to the interiors, including re-purposed oak, Carrara marble, chalkboard menus and steel to convey warmth and familiarity. A layering of textures, geometric wall planes and custom built-ins, along with “bright green flashes” of color and Knoll furnishings mingle the old-soul feel with the clean modernist lines.
Additional new restaurant projects coming from Arch11 include a design for Sazza Pizza in the Stanley Marketplace―one of six restaurants selected to fill a spot in the 140,000-square-foot repurposed Stanley Aviation building at the edge of Stapleton that will feature about 50 independent local businesses.
Founded in 1993, Arch11 has gained recognition for projects ranging from exceptional residences to institutional planning, mixed-use development and product design, including a 2009 Firm of the Year Award from the Colorado AIA North chapter. With offices in Boulder and Denver, Colo., Arch11 has over 30 combined years of green building technology leadership. The staff’s unusual level of hands-on experience ranges from boat building to furniture making, contributing to its reputation for commitment to craft, detailing and design integrity. For additional information visit www.arch11.com.
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