Birch by DA Architecture Bureau: 2018 Best of Year Winner for Casual Dining
The white-barked birch threads through this Russian region’s poetry, paintings, and folklore. A symbol of openness and simplicity, the tree is central to the 1,000-square-foot eatery bearing its name. Because Birch, located in St. Petersburg, was founded by four young chefs seeking a modern, relaxed environment to serve affordable yet refined fare, DA Architecture Bureau co-founder Anna Lvovskaya utilized everyday elements in unexpected ways—“materials that became a good background for the cuisine,” she says.
An envelope of gray-tinted stucco walls and polished concrete flooring sets a discreet and contemporary tone. Oiled ash, chosen to approximate birch, which is difficult to source in Russia, appears throughout, notably as the tops of the custom dining tables. “We were going for minimal but also warm and comfortable,” Lvovskaya says. The chefs themselves deliver dishes to customers, adding finishing touches as they serve. For that reason, all tables are raised but not quite bar height.
Stainless steel, ubiquitous in commercial kitchens, composes the tiered lighting canopy above the 15-foot-long communal table as well as the sink and fittings in the restroom. But the oiled ash reappears as floor-to-ceiling rods along the dining area’s perimeter, so visitors feel as if they’re breaking bread in a forest.
Project Team: Boris Lvovksky; Fedor Goreglyad; Maria Romanova.