An interior build-out of a new upscale restaurant inside an existing 19th century warehouse previously used as an artists' collective, a bicycle repair shop, and a book collective in the historic Faubourg Marigny area of New Orleans.
The restaurant opened inside the Alden Mills hosiery factory, built in 1895 and in business until 1956. Used primarily as a warehouse until the 2000s, the building formerly held The ARK, a community arts collective, the Plan B Community Bike Project and Iron Rail Book Collective. The design team wanted to keep the dynamic spirit of those collectives alive in the build-out, including in the first-floor corner space that is now home to Paladar 511.
The design of this restaurant was a labor of love for the owners, with whom we worked closely on design and execution; Jack, Susan, and Ed installed much of the interior finishes and casework themselves, including existing wood plank ceilings, lath-wrapped counters, countertops, built-in banquette seating, and wall shelving.
On the left, a detail of the jewel-box wine room. The contrast of luxe chandeliers and modern furnishings set against the original structural elements, exposed bricks, and existing wood plank ceiling gives the dining area the sense of familiarity of tradition married to sleek modernism.
Creating a casual, inviting atmosphere was carried through in the materials, which are warm, familiar, and invite touch.
During the day, artificial lighting is barely needed, and the intimate atmosphere of the restaurant at night encourages people to linger in the space.
A primary design goal from the start was to celebrate the existing height and volume of the industrial space, highlighted by historic, oversized, steel-framed windows on two sides. For this reason, building systems and back-of-house spaces are pushed to the interior corner. A mezzanine runs along one brick wall, sitting atop a jewel-box wine room and tucked-away bathrooms, allowing diners to experience the space from a higher vantage point overlooking the main floor.
The performance kitchen includes wrap-around counter seating which brings guests and chefs into close proximity, often prompting conversation during food preparation.
The view from the dining tables on the added mezzanine level affords diners the "whole experience," giving a panoramic view of the ground level dining area and performance kitchen.
From left: Owners of Paladar 511, Susan Dunn, Ed Dunn, and Jack Murphy, in the kitchen of their restaurant.