Also Seen: Bow Down

May 27, 2014

Undisclosable designs a 13th century Gothic inspired restaurant for chef Evan Funke that worships his simplistic approach to cooking.

As one of the only establishments in the U.S. that still practices the Bolognese tradition of pasta fatto a mano, L.A.’s Bucato restaurant is a lesson in the appreciation of old world simplicities.

Pasta is rolled daily by hand in the glass-enclosed “laboratorio,” which overlooks the dining area of this Italian eatery. Design firm Undisclosable gave the interior architecture a vertical focus, reminiscent of sacred spaces. “Like the choir, it’s elevated into a privileged position and is responsible for the delivery of Bucato’s most meaningful content,” explained Undisclosable co-founder Alejandra Lillo of the pasta lab.

“Although the origin of pasta is somewhat difficult to identify, most will state that it was roughly in the 13th century that pasta evolved into the definition we assign today. The notable architecture during this time was predominantly Gothic and religiously focused. Architectural elements generally existed to bolster the feeling that God exists, and God’s presence is immanent,” Lillo said.

Walnut banquettes feature tall tapering backs and Baltic birch inlays, a nod to the typical dark wood of church pews. Hanging in the double high space in front of the pasta lab as a chandelier are mattarelli (long thin wooden rolling pins used to produce the pasta), which are reminiscent of a pipe organ and help to draw the eye upward.

The verticality is also naturally inherent within the architecture of Bucato’s home: the iconic Beacon Laundry building, exemplary of the Zig Zag Modern Art Deco style which is known for its angular patterns.

The interiors and architecture also mimic the simplicity of chef Evan Funke’s cooking and ingredient choices, as they often call for no more than three to five ingredients. Similarly the material palette consists of five refined, vibrant, and compositionally balanced materials: birch, walnut, stainless steel, glass, and plaster.

Funke also employs very strict responsible sourcing practices when it comes to his food, which Undisclosable sought to illustrate with a large-scale knife installation. Reclaimed butcher knives identify the geographic locations of the local farms they are derived from throughout California, and a large meat cleaver identifies the location of Bucato in relation.

And while both the aesthetics and practices within Bucato bring everything back to basics, that doesn’t mean either are simple to execute.

“Despite the restraint when it comes to ingredient count per dish, the ingredients themselves are defined with an extreme precision, in their selection, preparation, and use. Evan’s process is extraordinarily refined and difficult. Undisclosable sought to draw these elements out and into Bucato’s architecture. Complexity and the uncommon weave through Bucato as thoroughly as simplicity and approachability.”

About the Author

AnnMarie Martin | Editor-in-Chief

AnnMarie has been covering the commercial design space since 2005 and has been on the editorial staff at i+s since 2011. Her style and vision has helped the brand evolve into a thought leader in purpose-driven design and cultural movements shaping the way we live and work. She returned to the role of editor in chief at the start of 2023 and her journalism and fiction writing background have helped to craft bi-monthly issues that don’t just report the latest industry news, but tell a cohesive tale of some of the biggest topics facing designers today.

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