NICOLETTA ITALIAN KITCHEN Washington, D.C. Located in the emerging Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood, the prestigious Washington D.C. Bar Legal Association designed and built a new state-of-the-art office space. The Association looked for the new office building to also be a place to network, congregate, and bring energy to the neighborhood and community. They selected acclaimed New York hospitality experts, Altamarea Group, who are known for their range of venues and crafting customized experiences. Each of their restaurants has a convivial core and an element of fun, which attracted the D.C. Bar Association to add vibrancy to the building at the street level. Altamarea Group elected to create an approachable Italian dining neighborhood concept and a sleek coffee shop to meet the needs of the Association and the neighborhood from 7 am till midnight New brands Nicoletta Italian Kitchen and Brew’d coffee shop were developed. The mandate was to create a venue that could capture the broad nature of the customer base: lawyers having a meeting or relaxed get-together, a heavy residential area having a regular “got-to” place, and a rendez-vous place for a quick drink or bite or also a more leisurely dinner. Altamarea also wanted this to be their second restaurant in addition to the successful Osteria Morini on the waterfront. So this needed to also be a destination option for local D.C. clients as well. The design brief focus for these new brands was to play off the “ approachable” element and creating a restaurant that could appeal to the breadth of client base they were targeting. An industrial chic motif was selected for Nicoletta Italian Kitchen. With a glass and concrete shell, the challenge was to create a space that was comfortable but elevated, like an old pair of jeans that are casual but can also be chic. Again, mixing old and new together was part of the goal, picking up also on the historical vibe that permeates as the nations’ capital. The look was achieved by mixing layers of vintage industrial light fixtures with steel and glass elements. A partition wall created from raw steel and using large sheets of corrugated chicken wire glass from old factories separates the bar and the main dining room without closing off either space. The seating is leather, rich, dark and comfortable, while the tables are made from recycled industrial floors including the original screws. Old French school chairs add a whimsical touch. The bar is sturdy and masculine but softened with amber mirrors. The art works which were also created by nusla design embrace the DC themes of power and money. Altered images of presidents with the corresponding bank notes gives a tongue in cheek nod to the capital. The bathrooms are black and bronze. Soft lighting made from WWII machine gun parts and Edison bulbs allows the atmosphere of the dining room to follow you into the restrooms. A make-shift wine display unit was created from old 1950s office cabinets - the shelves are filled with old legal books - a nod to the host building - wine bottles and votive candles for a charming accent wall. TEAM | nusla design + Alliance Architecture ENGINEERS | AJS Consulting Engineers PC CLIENT | DC Bar LOCATION | Washington D.C. TYPOLOGY | Hospitality, New Construction
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