When it opened last year, Bar Agricole garnered as much praise for its food -- sourced from local farms, of course -- as its décor, a modern but warm combination of industrial, recycled, and handcrafted elements. Now the restaurant has won the most coveted of all culinary prizes, the James Beard Award, for its interior design by Aidlin Darling Design.
The restaurateur asked Aidlin Darling to become co-owners.
The success is the product of a unique business arrangement befitting bohemian San Francisco: The restaurateur Thad Vogler, responding to recessionary times, asked Aidlin Darling and a team of artisans to pour their sweat equity into the project and become co-owners in the process. The sense of personal investment permeates the space -- from the billowing glass sculptures, by Nikolas Weinstein, dripping from the skylights to the walls lined with strips of oak reclaimed from whiskey barrels. Recycled wood is juxtaposed against industrial materials, as in the case of the oak seating cast into the sinuous concrete banquettes. Even the building, a 1912 warehouse, received a facelift with a corrugated-zinc curtain.
As you may have guessed, Bar Agricole is earning its green bona fides. It landed a spot on AIA/COTE's list of top green projects, and Aidlin Darling has applied for LEED Platinum. Three stars for the restaurant's interior!