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Step into Animae’s Art Deco wonderland

by Madelein
Step into Animae’s Art Deco wonderland

With Animae it is like stepping through a portal into a dreamy, enchanted forest with the essence of nature through the art of Japanese zen gardens. This restaurant is dressed in Art Deco romanticism and is a lustrous wonderland with an opulent colour palette of emerald, gold and salmon and an expansive bespoke carpet hugged by a meandering terrazzo river and lush serpentine booths.

Bells + Whistles’ enchanted forest design

Nestled into the ground floor of the luxury Pacific Gate Bosa Tower in San Diego, Los Angeles-based studio Bells + Whistles created Animae, a pan-Asian concept, a Japanese, mossy, Art Deco mash-up dreamy forest.

This project drew inspiration from an ancient remote forest on Japan’s Yakushima Island with a bespoke Brinton’s wool sun-kissed forest floor carpet. The carpet/forest floor, the terrazzo/river snaking through, the golden cave/rising sun and the art deco ceiling wings/rays of sunlight all add to creating a Japanese forest. Jade-toned velvet booths rise from the floor as huge tête-à-tête spheres of cedar trees segue upward into art-deco architecture, layering the space with a fantastical, theatre-like experience.

Lavish green curtains envelop a coral velvet banquette creating an enchanting space dripping in gold.

Flooring essential to the perfect atmosphere

San Diego is a cozy beach town, and the restaurants reflect that

Barbara Rourke, co-founder and creative director of Bells + Whistles, says that flooring is essential to the design of any space, but restaurant flooring is exceptionally important because of the wear and tear the floor must endure. “With Animae we decided to introduce a custom mossy eleven colour pattern wool carpet by Brintons that stretches along the dining side of the restaurant. We used a custom terrazzo blend for the high-traffic walking areas.”  By using multiple different textures throughout the space, a sense of wonder and luxury unfolded.

“We decided to use wool because it is the strongest carpet material we could use in a restaurant. Brintons special blend of 80% wool and 20% nylon is perfect for high traffic, maintenance and longevity. Sound mitigation and longevity are very important for restaurants and must be addressed for a successful design. The Timourous Beasties collection was the perfect solution for this space.”

Sustainability key in the designs

Sustainability is at the forefront of all Bells + Whistle’s designs. “We try and use as many natural materials as possible. The carbon footprint and sustainability of material choices is key to saving our planet. We should all strive to do better.”

Challenges in the project

Animae is a curve inside a curve with very tall ceilings and columns running down the middle. Barbara says, “We live for challenges. Working out solutions that follow a curving path was difficult at first, but then we saw new opportunities for flow that we hadn’t seen before. One of the most important parts of restaurant design is to create a seamless flow between the front and back of the house. We push and pull more than what’s wanted to integrate a cohesive design, so the function of the restaurant is supported by the design. We see ourselves as the left hand of the chef. If we do our job correctly, then the design is a natural extension of the food and service.”

Full acknowledgment and thanks go to www.allthebellsandwhistles.com for the information in this editorial.

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