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Long Anticipated CHARCOAL Venice is Now Open!



CONGRATS to distinguished Chef Josiah Citrin on his latest Dex Designed Los Angeles-based restaurant, Charcoal Venice, located at 425 Washington Boulevard.

Citrin’s Vision

Citrin has a history with DEX that reaches back to 2008 when the studio took on the high-stakes remodel of Citrin’s most well-known (and Michelin 2 Star Award winning) restaurant, Melisse, in Santa Monica.  Working to give the traditional restaurant a fresh, modern feel, Melisse remains one the consistently high-ranking restaurants in Southern California.  As Citrin began to conceptualize next restaurant in 2013, he sought a strong departure from the classical leanings of French cuisine in favor of a more casual dining experience elevated by open-fire cooking.  Citrin brought DEX’s principle, Glen Bell, into the process early on so he could fully vet the design and dining experience before construction began.

DEX’s Approach:

Inspired by the elevated, but everyday offerings on the menu, DEX jumped at the opportunity to craft an experience in 3400 square foot space that is both refined and comfortable.  This sort of honesty in design translates into all levels of the restaurant, starting with the overall openness of the kitchen, bar, and dining areas and carrying through to the smallest of the details, some of which are so unassuming that may only register on a subconscious level as part of the experience.

When guests first walk into the restaurant, the immediately notice that DEX strategically laid out the space so that no mater where the diners are seated–be it the bar, communal table, booths, or free-standing dining tables–they have a view directly into the inner workings of the Kitchen.  This casual atmosphere creates a direct connection to the food and makes the entire space like one giant and very approachable chef’s table.

Noteworthy Design Features Include:

-A saw-tooth ceiling (inspired by flame tamers on a  grill) opens the space up and allows direct views into the Bar and Kitchen area.  The ceiling is clad in acoustic material painted in a gradated effect that opens in bright and warm white (like charcoal itself when lit) and terminates in a deep, rich Bordeaux color that makes the space feel cozy and intimate.

-The dominant material palette consists of polished and ground concrete, brass and iron in metal applications, hearty woods like hickory, oak, and walnut in millwork, and porcelain and ceramic tile in natural glazes.

-A strong visual texture is created by combination of materials, most notable notably at the Bar, which showcases an offset grid pattern of tile mixed with walnut shelves framed by iron rod supports.

-DEX designed custom light fixtures in iron and brass that feature flexible, swing arm lamps.  The lights were fabricated by from One Forty-Three.

-DEX designed custom walnut tabletops that feature individually routed patterns inspired by abstracted grill marks.

-Furniture includes softer touches like the LaClasica dining chairs in black to ground the space and tan upholstered booth seating to add warmth.

-The bathrooms showcase a graphic tile pattern, angled walls, large mirror, and LED-accent lighting that create an M.C. Escher-like effect.

-There is an abundance of visual texture, but in each instance that texture maintains a tailored finish and feel (examples include polished concrete floors that still show aggregate, wood counter and tabletops with deep cathedraling that remains soft and smooth to the touch).

Lasting Impressions:

Charcoal’s overall design is meant to compliment Citrin’s food, and not overshadow it.  With a refined and honest approach to the space, the hope is that whether guests notice each element or simply enjoy the experience as a whole, they will leave ready to return.

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