Frank Lloyd Wright made his name by designing spaces that connect with nature. The surroundings helped define what the building would look like and how it would function. Wright’s buildings left their marks in a major way. His architecture remains an example of how one person’s perspective can influence the look and feel of our environment for years to come.
Wright died in 1959, but his vision is alive and well, evidenced by one of today’s most successful restaurant designers, who is reviving elements of Wright’s design to create a restaurant that’s both an echo and completely new.
That’s what Michael Pandolfi, studio director of design firm Jeffrey Beers International, has done with his design of Firepoint Grill, a project in Newtown, Pa., for client George Paxos of Paxos Restaurants.
“He wanted a modern and casual restaurant that is very warm and comfortable for his guests…all the cooking is done on an open-fire grill,” Pandolfi said. Those key words — warm, comfortable, fire — build a bridge in Pandolfi’s mind directly to the fundamentals of Wright’s designs.
What is it about Wright’s aesthetic that adapts so well to hospitality?
“I think the level of custom details in finishes, art and furniture are all key to Frank Lloyd Wright interiors, and are also elements clients expect for their projects,” Pandolfi said.
Wright designed a restaurant, the Riverview Terrace Restaurant, near his Taliesin estate in Wisconsin, which has since become the café of the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center. Wright also designed the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo in 1924, which no longer exists, but Pandolfi had a chance to visit it once.
Here’s how Pandolfi turned inspiration into a brick, wood and slate reality.
Photos by Max Touhey
Correction: Jan. 18, 2018 The source of several quotes in this gallery has been updated to Michael Pandolfi, studio director of design firm Jeffrey Beers International. Additionally, the restaurant's name has been corrected to Firepoint Grill.
Contact Tara Fitzpatrick at [email protected]