Illustration by Andy Friedman
I’m not a foodie at all. I eat when I’m hungry. Still, I always take the food into account when designing. If it’s fine dining, you’ll want to make your chairs a little more comfortable. But if you’re doing $8 pizzas, you don’t want to put someone in a Barcalounger because they’ll stay for four hours. Or maybe it’s more of a party place like SmithHouse, where we put in 30 booths that hold eight people apiece. How do you keep each project distinct? A lot of designers have “their look.” You go into a restaurant and you can tell “Oh, Philippe Starck did this.” Our firm doesn’t do that. I’d love to do places that are more radical and show off my background in sculpture. But for now I want the restaurant to be successful, not a showcase for me.