When you find a method that works, you better stick to it. So when Perbacco, an acclaimed, 2006 Italian restaurant in the San Francisco Financial District, achieved resounding success, its owners and partners decided to ride the wave and open a smaller, more casual eatery right next door. They enlisted the talents of CCS Architecture, an architecture and interior design firm with offices in San Francisco and New York, to help create a quaint but modern Italian-styled wine bar that could serve quick lunches and casual dinners, with plenty of informal seating and bar space for groups and single diners.
“The place needed to look and feel as different from Perbacco as possible…so they didn’t compete and so their customers would have a place that was different in price point, food type, and vibe,” says Cass Calder Smith, founder and principal, CCS Architecture.
Playing off of the clients’ requirements, the design of Barbacco Eno Trattoria— referred to as Perbacco’s “sexy little sister”—exudes more of Milan’s urban hipness than Tuscany’s rustic countryside. A theme of Italian modernity influences the palette, “hence, bright yellow, shiny metals, and multicolored floor, with a bit of walnut to calm it down and richen it,” Cass says.
Despite its compact size, and long, narrow layout, the restaurant can comfortably seat 66 patrons, thanks to the inclusion of six-top communal tables. Counter-height tables offer additional seating flexibility to accommodate varying groups of people between the lunch and dinner shifts, creating a continual buzz in the atmosphere and plenty of options for social interaction.
The use of vibrant yellow throughout the space draws attention to certain focal points, such as the wall embedded with flat-screen LCDs and the bar backwall. The hue also nicely complements the rest of the space, which flaunts an exposed, muted red brick wall and earthy colors. Additionally, yellow floor tiles patterned with gray generate movement and energy.
A dark wood bar, detailed with stainless steel and Negro Marquina stone, offers a chic and industrial touch that corresponds with walnut and chrome-accented furniture in the dining area. Along the long wall of the space hang several pieces of custom-designed art. The digitally manipulated photographs lends hints to what CCS Architecture believes to be sexy Italian references, such as vespas, wine barrels, and Italian movie stars.
“Lack of space was a challenge, and it was dealt with by making nice details and refined materials so being up close would be a reward,” Smith says. Additionally, to create an illusion of more interior space, CCS Architecture made the ceiling into “a fluid form that starts in the high area [at the storefront] and then bends down and flows back into the lower areas [toward the rear],” resembling the curves of a luxury car.