Bar Agricole | Aidlin Darling Design

With a name inspired by the farmhouse rums of the French Caribbean, Bar Agricole is a 1,400-square-foot restaurant and bar located in San Francisco’s industrial South of Market district. The architect and owner drew on long-term relationships with local artisans to assemble an expanded design team for the collaborative design-build process. A wooden “hull”—constructed of reclaimed whiskey-barrel oak, milled into thin strips, and suspended from the ceiling—creates a sense of intimacy in the long, tall interior of the former warehouse building. Above the hull, three existing skylights, fitted with delicate glass sculptures formed from warped Pyrex cylinders, filter natural light throughout the space.

Designed to complement to the restaurant’s seasonal menu, sourced from a local network of sustainable farms and gardens, the interior palette balances warm textures with the use of durable, sustainable materials. Two bars, made of board-formed concrete and old barn beams, anchor the space. Inch-thick ribbons of ductal concrete form the high-backed banquettes. The chairs are constructed of cabernet-stained oak barrels from a Napa Valley vineyard. The dining room connects to an outdoor courtyard and organic garden, where homegrown herbs are harvested from raised beds that adjoin the dining tables.

Because the neighborhood is primarily an industrial district with few public amenities, the architects worked with the city to reduce the size of the parking area in front of the building to provide space for the courtyard seating area. Now the area is enlivened by restaurant patrons and is part of the public realm. The restaurant achieved a LEED® Platinum certification and a walk score of 89.

Additional Credit

  • Acoustical Consultant: Charles Salter Associates
  • Concrete Fabricator: Concreteworks
  • Contractor: Northern Sun Associates
  • Custom Chair Design: Sebastian Parker Furniture Design
  • Engineer - Structural: Berkeley Structural Design
  • Engineer - Mechanical: MHC Engineers
  • Food Service: Restaurant Consultation and Design
  • Garden Fabricator: Cronin Construction & Development Inc.
  • Glass Sculpture Design: Nikolas Weinstein Studios
  • Graphics: Albertson Design
  • Lighting Designer: Revolver Design
  • Metal Fabricator: Chris French Metal
  • Sustainability Consultant: Simon and Associates
  • Wood Hull Fabricator: Matarozzi/Pelsinger Builders
  • Woodworker: Cabinet Works Co.

Photo Credit

    © Matthew Millman

Bar Agricole

Jury Comments

We loved this project and the sense of discovery it creates. It has a whimsical yet studied character.

Every possible element is thoughtfully crafted with great attention to detail. It evokes emotion, which is an important aspect of the work architects do.

There is a lot of texture where so often we see so much minimalism and sleek crafting. One of the nicest things is the way it manipulates the diner’s experience.

2014 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury

  • David Montalba, AIA, Chair
  • Montalba Architects, Inc.
  • Santa Monica, California
  • Casey Jones, Deputy Director
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Mary Morissette, AIA
  • 4M Design
  • Denver
  • Robert H. Quigley, AIA
  • Architectural Resources Cambridge
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Josh Shelton, AIA
  • El Dorado Inc
  • Kansas City, Missouri

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