Behind the Design: Aidlin Darling Design In Context: In-Situ Restaurant

By: Wescover

What secret ingredient does it take to win a Michelin Star and the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design? 

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s restaurant In Situ surpassed the expectations of food and art critics alike— winning the 2018 James Beard Best Restaurant Design Award, a Michelin Star, and acclaim as “America’s most original new restaurant” by The New York Times. Aidlin Darling Design reveals a few of the elements and Creators that helped them create this artful design and dining experience. 

In-Situ Restaurant, San Francisco
In-Situ Restaurant, San Francisco

Aidlin Darling Design utilized the extensive creativity and talent of local Creators like Boyd Lighting and Concreteworks to design award-winning spaces. Their approach to the design process is collaborative. Thus, each project is client and site-specific; integrating the different perspectives and creations that, with their guidance, become a comprehensive and beautiful whole. 

“Our hope is, upon a first interaction with a space or a piece, a person can have a deeper sensory experience past the initial visual interest – feeling the warmth of the wood against the coolness of the metal elements, smelling leather or wood as one engages a piece – that embed in to the memory of one’s experience” — Aidlin Darling Design.

To create this space, the designers cleverly keep guests in the museum-mindset with their In Situ concept (Latin for “in-context”). In Situ’s chef, Corey Lee removes the food from its typical surroundings and complementary dishes.  On the menu, one side even displays a map of the world, pointing out the origins of each dish, hinting “at the shift from a recipe’s origin to its new situation at In Situ,” according to one of the designers behind the concept, Andrea Lenardin Madden. So, just as the gallery’s contents evoke our emotions, the food and form create the feeling that each element is an extension of a visit to the MOMA.

Among the many works featured in In-Situ are pieces by Creators: Mattiazzi Italy, Evan Shively and Arborica, BassamFellows, Tucker Nichols, Northwood Design Partners, Manifesto Design, and Rosana Castrillo Diaz.

Mattiazzi Italy's Osso Chairs
Mattiazzi Italy’s Osso Chairs
Concreteworks' Concrete Server Credenza
Concreteworks’ Concrete Server Credenza
BassamFellows' Tuxedo Lounge Seating
BassamFellows’ Tuxedo Lounge Seating

The San Francisco-based multidisciplinary firm seeks to uncover the inherent spirit of place in each project. They’ve won numerous awards ranging from Interior Design Magazine and Surface Magazine to the American Institute of Architects. In addition to In-Situ, they have featured works in various public spaces such as Modernism Gallery, Paso Robles Winery, and Bar Agricole as well as many more private residential works.

See a map of spaces they’ve created on the Aidlin Darling Design Wescover page!

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