Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Chef's playground, an outdoor living-cooking-dining-enjoying space

Click here to see a plan, more pictures and text

Rays of light drift through the fragrant smoke, falling from cutout metal panels overhead. Colorful tiled columns and mosaic counters greet you as you arrive while people gather around cooking stations, the aroma of different foods mingling with the smoke to heighten anticipation of the evening meal, or tempt you over for a sample...

This is something I designed for a competition. The idea was to design a space for meeting, cooking and dining that follows the natural progression of a party: greeting, cooking (for some), dining, relaxing and moving gradually toward an exit. Why not have a space designed for each of these uses that still lets them communicate? Why not add a fun theme, like Moroccan, to the mix and transport everyone away from the ordinary?

Intermingling zones facilitate a great experience for guests and fun for chefs:

Movable seating and serpentine seat walls to encourage people to move around and mingle. The bar is also near this zone, and has burners for hot appetizers. After the fun, this is a place for saying, "see you next time".

This is where the fun starts. A sauce/stock/pasta station with burners set into a counter. A raised planter full of fresh herbs. A paella bar with a built-in paella ring so people can sit around as the rice bubbles. Grilling and baking stations with lots of prep space. Refrigerators under the counters for quick access to cold foods. The idea is that a flock of chefs could descend into these areas and play. A central storage shed holds dishwashers, plates, utensils and most items needed for a banquet, keeping the Chefs' Playground more or less self-contained.

The big dining table lies under hanging Moroccan lights, backed by a fireplace. It's separated from the cooking area by a counter with built-in refrigerators and wine coolers.

After the meal, another large patio and garden paths let everyone stretch their legs and enjoy a wall fountain, fragrant plants and colorful mosaics.

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