I_0409_SpatialSensations1

Photo Essay: Spatial Sensations

April 21, 2009

Charged with designing a space that would serve as both a showcase for high quality chocolates and a nighttime lounge, IA Interior Architects created an elegant solution for the new Co Co. Sala restaurant as rich as the indulgences it serves.

SOURCES | CONTACT

When the word chocolate comes to most people’s minds, they instantly associate the sweet delicacy with rich indulgences or even the deep, warm tone of its color. Both impressions certainly played a role in the design of Co Co. Sala, a new 130-seat restaurant designed by IA Interior Architects (IA), located in the heart of the Penn Quarter area of Washington, D.C.

The client requested that IA design a space to showcase high quality chocolates and elegant confections, and to ensure that it would seamlessly transition from a daytime café to a nighttime lounge. The solution is a sophisticated, jewelry box-inspired space, where glass display cases are placed along the wall like artwork, each containing sugar and chocolate sculptures.

“The client wanted a chocolate lounge and boutique to showcase her chocolate confections in a jewelry-like manner,” says design team member Elizabeth Hafner. “We in turn created a richly textured space that engages luxurious finishes and sharply contrasts the crisp white display cases throughout the lounge highlighting her chocolate works of art.”

The restaurant was created through a partnership between Nisha Sidhu, founder of acclaimed restaurant The Sugar Gallery Inc., and Bharet Malhotra, vice president of sales at Cvent Inc., an online event planning company. “Every element the owner uses in creating her designer chocolates was taken into consideration when selecting the finishes,” Hafner explains. “The chocolate brown ‘wave walls’ that encompass the dining and lounge areas emulate flowing chocolate, while the gold and red accents reflect the detailed designs applied to her chocolate pieces.”

The 5,000-square-foot space is divided into two areas by centralized bars wrapping around an existing brick wall. The pastry bar serves as the carry-out station by day and as a full cocktail bar with 10 seats at night. The 14-seat cocktail bar, used during dinner and lounge hours, is on the other side of the brick wall. Each bar is adjacent to a dining area.

“Because the space was originally two separate spaces and considered a historic building, we had to design a space that felt like one lounge while limiting the amount of demolition required to an existing brick wall separating the two spaces,” explains Alex Hurtado, associate. “The way we linked them together was by creating centralized bars that wrapped around the historic brick wall like a bracelet. The lavish finishes on the bars create a unique contrast that helps celebrate the wall’s maturity.”

The daytime bar is next to a lounge furnished with velvet banquette seating; intimate dining tables are located in the cocktail bar area. Each dining area is accented with the dramatic, aforementioned “chocolate wave wall” made of dark wood that undulates from the ceiling. Guests arriving during the day enter the café side and through a second entrance—delineated by a backlit onyx hostess stand—at night.

Reflective materials such as Italian red glass, iridescent gold mosaic tiles, and gold leaf gilding are used throughout the space to create the sparkling jewel effect. The color palette has rich tones of red, gold and chocolate brown. Biofuel-enabled flames illuminate glass boxes in the lounge and behind the hostess stand.

Other highlights of Co Co. Sala include a five-seat bar with views into a temperature and humidity controlled chocolate room. The 12- by 6-foot retractable glass window can open for special events and classes. Also appealing are the restrooms, which use circular two-way peephole mirrors to create a flirty atmosphere between the public and private spaces. The mirrors face out, so patrons can be seen entering and exiting the wash area of restrooms.

The end result is a sensational design that allows the space to serve both form and function. “IA strives to ensure that all of its interiors are functional, and this project was no exception. It had to look beautiful, but there were a lot of functional needs that needed to be addressed. It is a busy venue, so the layout was designed to allow staff to work efficiently and seamlessly,” Hurtado adds.

Co Co. Sala will be adding a private dining lounge which will accommodate parties of up to 50 to 70 people. It has already been designed by IA, and is expected to be complete by early fall.

“This has been a great project to energize our staff. Restaurants give us an opportunity to push the boundaries of design. The creativity is contagious for the team and transcends to every project in the office,” says Charles Plymale, AIA, principal.

 

SOURCES:
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FIXTURES

GLASS SHELF
Axor


GENERAL ACCESSORIES (PAPER, TOWEL, ETC.)
Bobrick

Bradley
(800) 272-3539


RESTROOM SINKS
Vitraform
(888) 338-5725


RESTROOM WALL FAUCET
KWC
(678) 334-2121

Grohe


TOILETS
Toto
(770) 282-8686


FLOORING

CARPET
Karastan
(800) 234-1120


LINOLEUM
LG Floors
(888) 543-5872


TILE
Stone Source

Tau Ceramica


FURNITURE

BANQUETTE
Five Star Furniture
(718) 522-5042


BARSTOOLS
Zuo


CHAIRS
Five Star Furniture


TABLES
Custom-fabricated granite tabletops


TABLE BASE
Sandler Seating


METALS / GLASS / SPECIAL FINISHES

FIREPLACE FIXTURES
Modern Gel Fireplaces
(410) 828-0113


FOLDING GLASS PANEL SYSTEM
Hafele
(800) 423.3531


GLASS
3-form
(212) 627-0883

Pulp Studio
(310) 815-4999


MILLWORK / CASEWORK
Architectural Ceramics
(301) 762-4140

Bacon Veneer
(800) 443-7995

Formica
(800) 367-6422
(FORMICA)

Stone Source

PAINT / PAINT FINISHES

PAINT
Benjamin Moore


SPECIALTY FINISHES
Bixler Studios
(703) 234-7740


TILE
Metropolitan Ceramics
(800) 325-3945

Oceanside Glass Tile

Stone Source

TEXTILES

DRAPERY
Innovations
(800) 227-8053


UPHOLSTERY
Carnegie
(516) 678-6770

Maharam
(800) 645-3943


OTHER
Mechoshade
(718) 729-2020


LIGHTING
Ardee Lighting

Bartco Lighting

Belfer Lighting for Architecture

BK Lighting

CONTACT:
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CLIENT

CO CO SALA
929 F St., NW
Washington, DC 20004

PROJECT TEAM

ARCHITECT

IA Interior Architects
160 State St., 10th Fl.
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 371-0800

Charles Plymale, Principal
Alex Hurtado, Associate
Jennie Hunt
Elizabeth Hafner
Natalie Crossan

GENERAL CONTARACTOR
Encore Construction

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
M G V Consulting Structural Engineers

MEP ENGINEER
Capitol Engineering Group

LIGHTING DESIGNER
Gilmore Lighting Design

PHOTOGRAPHY
Ron Solomon

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