The original building is an independent structure built in the west-coast industrial modern style of the late 40's. the wooden storefront is original old growth fir, stripped of 60 yrs of paint.
The recycled narrow-strip oak floor carries with it a kind of residual depth that comes from having been a floor for sixty years; it brings its own sixty years of experience into the new room and along with it, a subtle but perceptible whiff of time. The details of the floor, at joints and stairs, etc, are carefully designed to reinforce the memory suggested by the material.
The wine rack was designed to be like a monumental version of a rack you might find in the larder of a 1950’s basement. High-gloss fir plywood shelves, in-filled with Georgian glass panels. Jam, pickles, wine, the references come from the material and the form reinforces the association.
The cast-in-place, black and white terrazzo bar is like an immutable laboratory countertop. the material of this monolith looks like black truffles in goat cheese while the form represents the goal of performing all of the necessary tasks of a bar in one simple stroke, like a tasty minimalist sculpture.
The lamp over the bar was conceived as an extrusion of a Swedish globe lamp, pulled out along the horizontal, resulting in an eight-foot long cylinder of light. This suspended, glowing “cigarette” casts a touch of madness over the already scientific bar.
Gastropod is modernism with a memory. When a design is only about what’s new, then there exists a limited number of ideas and feelings that can be conveyed in that design. Gastropod is a restaurant, but it is also a laboratory. This derives directly from chef Angus An, and his experimental approach to cooking.
The laboratory association works as a friendly critique of modernism, a-la Jacques Tati, poking fun at the roots of the modern tradition and the tendencies of early modernists to look for inspiration in factories and hospitals.