The James Beard Awards are the most prestigious and exclusive awards for restaurant design. The 2015 edition of the award went to SOMA Architects for best Restaurant Design or Renovation in North America for their design of Workshop Kitchen & Bar in Palm Springs, California. Designed for the chef owners, Michael Beckman and Joe Mourani, the restaurant was completed in October of 2012 and has since been a staple of the Palm Springs community, serving playful “Americana” cuisine. Design award category> 76 Seats and Over (For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2012).
“Our goal was to create a fresh new architectural identity to correspond the Workshop Kitchen and Bar,” said Michel Abboud, SOMA principal and founder. “We treated the existing historical building with the utmost respect. Our design approach was a simple insertion of poured in place cast concrete brutalist elements using an ecclesiastic design approach.”
In the center aisle, a 35-foot long communal table acts as a more public space, while large monolithic concrete booths provide a more intimate dining experience. Additionally, a private dining area at the back of the space allows guests to dine at the monolithic altarpiece. A great attention was given to every detail, including to the custom design of lighting fixtures in collaboration in PS Lab in order to elegantly compliment the brutalist interior.
International architecture firm SOMA, headquartered in New York, was founded in 2004 by Michel Abboud. With its focus on incorporating craft, digital technologies and environmental responsibility, the firm’s designs and work have attracted critical acclaim for their boundary pushing nature. SOMA’s work is rising around the world today–in New York, Dubai, Lebanon and other international markets.