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Bocanova's dining room designed by Michael Guthrie and Company. Photo by Ashley Teplin

November 30, 2009

Bocanova: The Birth of a Restaurant

Bocanova, created by Michael Guthrie and Company Architects, inhabits a 6,500 sq. ft corner of an historical 1920’s ice warehouse in an ideal waterfront location; a space with tons of character as they say, which means both flaws and charm, an empty concrete shell with the beauty of the bygone industrial era it evoked. It became immediately clear that the rough grey texture and massive scale of the columns and ceiling would be something to highlight instead of hide. The columns became the divining rod and focus of the design.

Bocanova's Pan American kitchen provided a perfect palette for interior designer Andrea Wade of Michael Guthrie and Company. On her sojourn to South America the year before, Andrea was truly inspired by both the architecture and the food. The one thing that is quite prominent in South American arts and architecture is the embracing of simple forms in warm and vibrant palettes. Both new and old exist together in their interiors, combining indigenous with contemporary seamlessly. The conception of our core vision came to life quickly: a blend of old and new, traditional and innovative.

At Michael Guthrie & Company, function is always the first consideration when embarking on a project. So after the initial inspiration, a floorplan was designed that was ideal for both chef and guest. One of the main components is an almost market-stall counter that allows the kitchen to have an open interface the entire length of the dining room. Visual and physical divisions divide and define smaller more intimate areas without sacrificing the over-all feeling of spaciousness. The intent was to create several dining experiences that allow the guests to experience Bocanova in different ways on different occasions. There is counter dining where guests can watch and talk to the chefs, intimate two person booths, long communal tables and shaded outdoor seating over-looking the Jack London Marina to the Oakland Estuary beyond.

The simple shapes and palette evoke South American monastic spaces, both clean and rustic, with earthy warmth. The furnishings were selected to be comfort able and imbue the ambiance with a familial and convivial quality.

Whenever possible, the fabricators used at Bocanova were local and the furniture and fixtures were created using sustainable methods. Our wall plaster is a custom formula created by the Santa Rosa husband and wife team at Tobias Stucco. Details International in Napa sourced our reclaimed wood from local barns. The tables came from Wooden Duck in Berkeley and their bases were custom fabricated by Pearce Schmidt Construction in Emeryville, with the exception of the tall communal table in the bar area. The wonderful crew at Eclipse Design in Petaluma fabricated that concrete top and recycled wood base was created by Artefact in Sonoma. All of the custom steel. The wall tiles are from Heath Tile in Sausalito with the exception of the warm golden tiles at the cookline, which are a recycled product from Fireclay Tiles in San Jose. Our custom concrete counters, footrails, and sinks are from Concreteworks in Oakland. B&L Seating in San Francisco expertly crafted the banquettes. Magnolia Lane in South San Francisco to give our space warmth and human scale fabricated the draped column sconce shades. The rugs, although imported from India, are fair trade and made with natural dyes and were purchased from Emmett Eiland Oriental Rug Company, which has been doing business in Berkeley since 1969. Terra Nova Industries General Contractors of Walnut Creek built the restaurant.

The high level of involvement of the entire Bocanova team; owner to landlord to architect to builder resulted in the creation of a well-built, cost-effective and stunning space for Bocanova.

Posted by Pamela at November 30, 2009 3:00 PM| Share on Facebook |

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