Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2018

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6 6 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 MI VIDA MAKES WAVES AT D.C.'S NEW DISTRICT WHARF tently and strategically throughout. On the first floor, for instance, the same pink stands out in a ceiling feature above the host stand. Created from wooden slats, it was inspired by and is meant to evoke lava flowing from a Mexican volcano. While the color is bold, the design intent is subtle. "Most people wouldn't pick up on the idea behind that 3-D pink wave," Reginbogin says. "It's a minor detail, but it pays homage to the rich, volcanic history of Mexico and to the beginning of life, which leads to the tree of life." Pink also carries through in strategi- cally lit wallpaper — matched to the same Pantone hue — on the back bar and again on restroom doors. And the same shades of pink and blue seen in the tree's flowers are used in a main dining room feature wall sporting painted tin butterflies set against charred, magenta-stained wood. Those colors pop again in a digital overlay mural depicting a modern Mexi- can woman in a floral dress that covers an adjacent wall. A masculine version of the mural featuring a sombrero-clad Mexican man covers the same wall in the third-floor dining room. Pink takes a subtler and slightly more contemporary turn in the team's choice of rose gold metal used in dividing screens between booths on the first floor and across the room in a decorative metal grid positioned over the main back-bar wall. "For the screens, we created a sort of different and interesting pattern, which also hides some up-lighting that gives a bit of ambient light in there," Tracz says. "That's also echoed in the magenta-tinted wood wall that's on the side of the dining room and again in the pink wood slats that make up the wave at the entrance." While such strategic color play is essential to adding sparkle and vibrancy to the Mi Vida experience, color in general is used with restraint. Those very intentional pops stand out against a largely muted base palette. Natural wood tones, raw concrete, black, white and gray dominate in the space and help to create a timeless aesthetic, while small but important touches, such as a custom-patterned band that borders the black concrete bar top, black-and-white Mexican tiles, and a wooden arch fram- ing the main floor's restroom vestibule entrance, lend warmth and character. Finding Inspiration in History Guests who work their way upstairs also work their way back, at least loosely via design experience, into Mexico's past. The Hacienda Room on the mezzanine level channels Spanish colonialism, while the top-floor bar, dining room and private dining areas reach farther back to the Mayans and Aztecs for design inspiration. Here again, the KNEAD Hospitality and Studio //3877 teams tread carefully to select materials, finishes and decor that would carry each period's narrative conceptually versus literally. The semiprivate Hacienda Room sits behind a series of large arched open- ings with ornate wrought-iron balcony details. Through the arches, diners enjoy views of the Potomac River beyond and the first floor and Tree of Life below. The Hacienda Room's far side opens to a small indoor garden planted with A ceiling treatment made of pink painted wood slats positioned above the host stand pays subtle homage to Mexico's volcanic landscape and evokes the flow of lava. The focal point of the top-floor bar is a colorful, abstract floral wallpaper that flows up from the back bar and onto the ceiling toward the doors to the veranda.

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