Middle Eastern restaurants are often imagined as having design aesthetics that tend to be very dark, heavily patterned and somewhat cliché. The design for Bavel set out to challenge those conventions. The restaurant design embraces the influence of the regions from which the cuisine is derived, interpreting those ideas through the lens of its Arts District (Los Angeles) location. The worn, rather innocuous brick warehouse which houses the space, served as a wonderfully textured canvas for the restaurant to evolve from.
Natural light served as the critical ingredient employed to create a bright and inviting atmosphere. This was addressed by constructing soaring saw tooth skylights on the roof which, coupled with storefront openings and clerestory windows, bathe the dining room in indirect northern light. The interior brick walls have been treated with a wash which evokes the textures of ancient Middle Eastern seaside villages; where wall materials show the age of centuries of different treatments depicting its evolution. The dining patio found its muse in the structural oddities found in the Middle East. It features several different materials, textures and features creating a “mash-up” of style through time embracing the evolution of a space, as a theme.
The center piece of the design is an extensive raceway of planters which hang just below the massive skylight openings. Vine-like greenery spills from above, filling the voluminous ceiling area. As the day gives way to evening, the spot-lit plants create interesting shadow play on the perimeter walls, reminiscent of Moroccan lattice. Patterns evoking a Moorish feel will be seen sporadically throughout the space from the flooring details and counter faces of the dining room to the restroom lanterns. The primary base color in the space is white with pops of color in tile, plaster and furnishings. The colors are also drawn from Casa Blanca, with vibrant turquoise, saffron and turmeric as well as brass highlights.
Seating diversity will be plentiful, with a focus on comfort so diners can relax and enjoy, whether inside or on the patio. Modern and traditional styles have been blended to find the perfect note and finishing touch to the space.