1652336771655 Ada Sconce 17 Osteria Moto Nicolette Lovell Ravenhill 1 Lg

How Light and Shadow Blend Inside this New Sacramento Restaurant

June 3, 2019

Brendan Ravenhill Studio has designed a light-filled, airy Italian-inspired restaurant in the Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills. Read more about the use of light and shadow and warm and cool materials inside Osteria Moto.

The first thing you’ll likely notice about the interior of Osteria Moto is the warmth. We’re not talking temperature – rather, the abundant use of alder wood and Douglas fir to create a rich and inviting atmosphere.

Located in El Dorado Hills, a suburb of Sacramento, CA, the Italian-inspired restaurant was designed by LA-based Brendan Ravenhill Studio. The interior design centers around light, material and flow – fitting from a design studio that specializes in modern lighting and furniture.

Moto’s owner was committed to using the studio’s fixtures and lamps because designer Brendan Ravenhill had previously created the interior of Moto’s sister restaurant, Osteria La Buca. So Ravenhill again took on the challenge of designing an entire restaurant space – not just the lighting.

“It’s a great challenge to approach a project as a more holistic enterprise,” Ravenhill says, “and thinking about how lighting and the material palette are going to come together.”

Light + Shadows

The lighting design is where Ravenhill particularly shines. Some fixtures are custom and some come from the studio’s product line. The goal was to “create pools of light that would help define the space,” Ravenhill says.

Ada Sconces in brass create an intimate dining experience for guests in the six-top banquettes that line one wall, while three Grain Drums light three large communal tables. “Those are some of our biggest fixtures by size and volume, especially,” Ravenhill says. “They’re positioned above to highlight the tables as group experiences – whether you’re celebrating with family or sitting with people you’ve never met.”

For the two- and four-top tables, general illumination comes from Double Church Chandeliers. They serve to bring in more ambient light and complement the tabletop candles.

Overhead at the bar hangs a custom Church 3 Arm Pendant to help orient the smaller area. Ravenhill says the essential fixture helps populate the vertical space while working with the architectural constraints. The pendant is complemented by more Ada Sconces that line the bar’s perimeter.

“The spotlights, sconces and ambient light come together to create a space that has a lot of movement – it’s not generally lit all at once,” Ravenhill explains.

Warm + Cool

Ravenhill wanted Moto to be timeless, light-filled and airy. Sightlines were an important consideration – he wanted to create openness and continuity across the restaurant’s three programs: the bar, dining area and attached coffee shop and café. To achieve that, glass walls and a wood-detailed ceiling are present throughout the space.

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Wood is a thematic material at Moto. Douglas fir, native to the Pacific Northwest, is used for the ceiling, and alder wood used throughout the space was also sourced locally. “[Alder wood] is a really warm hardwood that’s very budget-friendly and also has a certain richness to it,” Ravenhill says. To contrast the warmth of the wood, tabletops are made from limestone.

A Neighborhood Spot

Ravenhill and Moto’s team have received positive feedback from the community on the restaurant’s design. Although the Italian-inspired fare helped influence it, Ravenhill says “it’s really about locality” and a celebration of the idea of light and shadows, warm and cool.

Overall, he adds, Moto is meant to be reflective of the time and place the neighborhood is in. Browse through the following images to see which products were placed where throughout the space.

All products are from Brendan Ravenhill Studio


Church 3 Arm Pendant

This custom pendant, in white and brass, hangs over the bar and serves as a solution to the architectural constraints of the space’s height.

Ada Sconce 17

These Ada Sconces are wall-washing sconces in brass that provide intimate lighting for patrons sitting at one of the six banquettes.

Grain Drum 25

Grain Drums hang above communal tables to highlight the group experience, whether guests are celebrating with family or dining with people they haven’t met before.

Double Church Chandelier

Double Church Chandeliers hang above two- and four-tops for general illumination.

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