Photo: Silver Restaurant
When we heard that David Rockwell was designing Silver, the restaurant in Park City, Utah, where all the celebs will be partying at the Sundance Festival, we wondered what the group famed for restaurants like Adour Alain Ducasse DC and public spaces such as the Marketplace JFK Airport's Jet Blue terminal, would imagine for a former silver-mining-company headquarters. And while we were at it, we asked David Mexico, of The Rockwell Group, about the secrets of the design-firm's success. (Click here for more about Silver and the Sundance Festival.)
Slashfood: What is it about your design sensibility that makes your restaurants so celebrity-friendly and inviting?
David Mexico: When we design a restaurant, we always think of some of the touchstones of set design (another passion of mine) to draw guests in: entrance, choreography, lighting, storytelling, and procession. We spend a lot of time studying which materials, textures, and motifs that we should bring into the space to engage all the senses, and to create an extraordinary celebratory dining experience.
SF: You're known for your glamorous but subtle designs for renowned restaurants such as Nobu. What is the greatest challenge in creating a restaurant in the West, specifically in Park City, Utah?
DM: One of the greatest challenges in designing Silver was creating a totally modern and new design statement in Park City, while also paying tribute to the silver-mining history of the town and the building. We did this by infusing and reinterpreting this legacy with features like veins of silver in a variety of materials throughout the interior.
SF: What elements of the existing building, the original structure, did you keep or build on at the Marsac Silver Mining Company? And which did you eliminate? Are there historical elements to the design that draw on its past?
DM: We retained the historic exposed brick walls, and made it a part of the modern palate of Silver by covering many of those surfaces with a custom chain-link curtain that we lit dramatically from the front and the back. We also used much of the original wood throughout the interior, but stained it to match the tone of the design, such as the silver-leaf ceiling. We tell the story of the building's past identity through the use of silver as the underlying color in the materials, textures, and patterns throughout the restaurant.
SF: Silver is opening during the Sundance festival, which attracts A-list Hollywood stars. Did you have anyone in mind when creating the space?
DM: Our design approach always focuses directly on the people who will be experiencing the space. We wanted the restaurant to be a fresh, modern, glamorous destination both during Sundance and beyond, which offered a totally new type of restaurant for Park City guests and residents.