West Hollywood, CA
Client/Owner: Michael Cimarusti, Craig Nikoloff, Donato Poto
Architecture and Interior Design:
Douglas Pierson (as partner with (fer) studio)
Structural Engineer: John Labib & Associates
MEP: Shamim Engineering
Photography: Noe Montes, pod a+d
Chef Michael Cimarusti founded the award-winning L.A. restaurant “Providence” with co-owner and general manager Donato Poto, who approach seafood with uncompromising respect and sophisticated preparation techniques.
So when they said they envisioned their new enterprise, Connie & Ted’s, as a New England-style “clam shack,” we knew they didn’t really want a low-ceilinged, clapboard box with picnic tables inside and little sliding windows for dolling out fried clams in plastic baskets. They wanted a cool, casual eatery inspired by the classic clam shacks that dot the New England Seaboard and the Western Coast without the kitsch.
An adaptive re-use project, the restaurant’s modern architectural design references the fishing and boating culture without imitating it. For example: custom built-in cabinets, wall panels, tables, flooring, and wine storage all feature the same fine joinery and wood finishes you’d find in a Chris-Craft boat.
The most dramatic element of the restaurant’s design – the arching roof that extends over the outdoor patio – suggests a sail. The hand-crafted wooden underside of the “sail” is another reference to fine boat building. Large red “boats” suspended above the elevated porch contain gas heating elements and LED lighting.
From the porch, a curving glass wall allows arriving patrons to view the restaurant’s bustling interior. Inside, through a pivoting glass door, the interior design includes a high-ceilinged atrium and small windows – or “gills” – that allow natural light to fill the space by day and accommodate all air filtration in the space.
Instead of a column to hold up the end of this high space, we opted for a deep transfer beam. This made it possible to have an uninterrupted view from one side to the other, maintaining the urban vibe of Santa Monica Boulevard in an intimate, relaxed atmosphere.