At the 2015 American Institute of Architects St. Louis Design Awards, SPACE scored one of only three awards given in the Interiors category for our design of Público, Mike and Liz Randolph’s Latin-American restaurant. The Distinguished Award was an accomplishment not only because Público was the smallest project honored in the category by approximately ten billion dollars, but — unlike the other award winners — our team was responsible for every step of the project, including design, construction and specialty fabrication of some of the space’s signature elements.

The jury made special note of our conceptual approach to the project. Público is unique because all of the food is cooked over an open fire in a custom hearth. No other restaurant in St. Louis prepares its dishes in this primal way. Our design team incorporated charred wood — the fire’s fuel — throughout the restaurant. The expansive bar is topped with ebonized wood. The same wood has been fashioned into trees that perch above the booths. Black steel complements the blackened wood, and all of the seating was arranged to maximize guests’ view of the fire in the kitchen. Our team crafted the live-edge community table, reception desk and sign, the steel in the three-compartment open hearth, and the dining room “trees.” The Randolphs adorned the walls with some of their own colorful artwork, and Mike decked out the kitchen in his own eclectic style, including vintage jars and a red mechanic’s tool box on the counter.

This is SPACE’s sixth AIA Award, after earning awards for Franco, St. Louis Academy of Environmental Science and Mathematics (formerly Imagine Schools), Bobo Noodlehouse, Chill, and Pi Pizzeria at the Mercantile Exchange. Creating this space was a collaborative effort between us and the Randolphs, and we couldn’t be happier to receive such recognition. Here are a few shots of the now award-winning Público: