Photography by Michael Kleinberg
After designing a restaurant for Crescent Hotels in Florida, the hospitality management company called upon the Puccini Group once again for the Livingston Restaurant + Bar in Atlanta. "The client came to us for recommendations on the type of restaurant that would work best for the neighborhood," explains Robert Polacek, Puccini Group’s chief creative officer.
Polacek and his team didn’t have to look hard for design inspiration—the restaurant is housed in the historic Georgian Terrace hotel, which is built on the site of Livingston Mims’ estate, one of the first mayors of Atlanta. "We were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work within a historic building that held great meaning and history with Atlanta," Polacek says. "Livingston was quite a character, he was influential in the greening of Atlanta and a true lover of fine dining, wine, and socializing. The hotel also played host to the premier party of Gone with the Wind. Both of these historic pasts helped us create our aesthetic. The themes of past, ghosting, and celebration allowed us to really understand and respect the building’s personality."
To play against the original white Georgian marble and ornate detailing, Polacek and his team employed polished steel, metallic leather, snakeskin, mahogany and Carrera marble tables, rich mohair, and chocolate brown, silver, and burgundy colors throughout the 5,7000-square-foot, two-level space. Two massive chandeliers, one encased in an iridescent screen and the other a starburst-inspired work of art by local artist Chris Moulder, add dramatic architectural details. A glowing ghost column made of four uplit sheer panels of woven metal threads filled with a cast nickel sculptural pendulum in the lounge completes the colonnade layout of the existing marble columns that are now clad in nickel channel molding and illuminated with incandescent strip lights. Oversized Palladian windows give guests on the terrace a peek into the bar. And two works of art featuring black and white images of some of the city’s socialites on the red carpet border the dining room.
"We wanted to create an environment that did not compete with the French Renaissance style of the interior and most importantly did not dramatically change its interior that witnessed many historical events and figures who passed through its halls," Polacek says, adding that they created a sexier look in the bar and lounge so it had a separate personality—Mims’ "wilder party persona"—than the restaurant.
But the Puccini team didn’t just do the design—they also handled the overall concept development, from design through operations. "We were responsible for choosing the chef, menu design, uniforms, tabletop, and music," he says. They even brought in a local jeweler to create custom pieces for the cocktail servers.
Want more? Check out Polacek’s blog from New Delhi and Dubai at www.hdtalks.com.