Studio Unltd wanted the design for Bavel to challenge the conventions of a traditional Middle Eastern restaurant bringing light and clean space to traditional design in this Los Angeles, California eatery.

Middle Eastern restaurants are often imagined to have design aesthetics that tend to be very dark, heavily patterned and somewhat cliché. The restaurant design embraces the influence of the regions from which the cuisine is derived, interpreting those ideas through the lens of its Arts District (Los Angeles) location. The worn, rather innocuous brick warehouse which houses the space, served as a wonderfully textured canvas for the restaurant to evolve from.

Natural light served as the critical ingredient employed to create a bright and inviting atmosphere. This was addressed by constructing soaring saw tooth skylights on the roof which, coupled with storefront openings and clerestory windows, bathe the dining room in indirect northern light. The interior brick walls have been treated with a wash which evokes the textures of ancient Middle Eastern seaside villages; where wall materials show the age of centuries of different treatments depicting its evolution. The dining patio found its muse in the structural oddities found in the Middle East. It features several different materials, textures and features creating a “mash-up” of sorts of style through time embracing the evolution of a space as a theme.

The center piece of the design is an extensive raceway of planters which hang just below the massive skylight openings. Vine-like greenery spills from above, filling the voluminous ceiling area. The day gives way to evening, the spot-lit plants create interesting shadow play on the perimeter walls reminiscent of Moroccan lattice. Patterns evoking a Moorish feel, will be seen sporadically throughout the space from the flooring details and counter faces of the dining room to the restroom lanterns. The primary base color in the space is white with pops of color in tile, plaster and furnishings. The colors are also drawn from Casa Blanca, with vibrant turquoise, saffron and turmeric as well as brass highlights.

Seating diversity is plentiful, with a focus on comfort so diners relax and enjoy whether inside or on the patio. Modern and traditional styles have been blended to find the perfect note and finishing touched to the space.

Design: Studio Unltd
Photography: Tanveer Badal