As part of renovating Ghirardelli Square’s historic Mustard Building we were tasked with designing this new 400-seat restaurant for the urban gourmet—with an indoor-outdoor connection, open kitchen, and purposeful, informal feel. In the studio, we tasked ourselves with reconnecting Ghirardelli to modern-day San Francisco in an authentic, relevant way that would stand the test of time.
We all love the building’s original, rough beauty and favored elevating its aesthetic with respectful, subtle interventions. Two new glass storefront ‘porches’ were added on the north face—to extend the restaurant’s footprint and bring the vibrant, sophisticated bar scene at Waxman’s into view, showcasing the original rustic brick as a backdrop. These porches open onto an adjacent plaza via a series of tall doors, under an existing deck, and were made to resemble similar vestibules added in a 1960’s renovation of Ghirardelli’s campus in keeping with historical preservation guidelines.
In collaboration with the chef, we arrived at a simple, elegant floor plan that humanizes the enormity of the space by creating two dining rooms around a central kitchen, and tucking the back-of-house functions in an accessible but discreet area. The limited mix of neutral and local materials includes white oak floors stained to match the old factory floor, Heath tile, and beautiful walnut and cypress woods. Custom, utilitarian hardware was created to reference the landmark building’s history, setting and back-story.