October 1, 2012

Chain Reaction: Stacked Restaurant by Jordan Mozer and Associates

The bland sameness of shopping malls caused Jordan Mozer to pull a 180 when it came to designing an outlet of Stacked, a fast-growing restaurant chain. “Driving around suburban California made me crave simple, real materials with texture,” says the Jordan Mozer and Associates principal, “and got me nostalgic for 1980’s lofts.” These unvarnished urban influences are obvious in Stacked’s cavernous Cerritos location, which sits like a city sophisticate in the midst of a bustling parking lot.

The exterior of the 6,500-square-foot space is faced in steel rectangles, a geometry that flavors the interiors, from the colored window wall to the mosaics lining the restrooms. Stacked won an innovation award from the National Restaurant Association for its iPad- based ordering system, which allows diners to order and pay right from their table. The designer complemented this bespoke approach with handmade design components, such as polished sand-cast aluminum-alloy door pulls, oiled-leather seating, and hand blown pendant fixtures. A floor-to-ceiling mural at the entry is a colorful kaleidoscope of water colors by Mozer and photographs by his 17-year-old daughter Eliza. A family effort for a family-friendly restaurant, the installation “is about the pure playful pleasure of abstract compositions,” says the designer, who’s also an avid sculptor—a series of his creations even graces this exterior.

This is Mozer’s third Stacked project, and he’s been commissioned for two more in Southern California. Despite the chain’s expansion, however, each will be unique. “There will even be variation in the elements that have to repeat,” he continues, referring to the steel facade panels on this and future outposts—they will be treated with different chemical-bath formulas for different patinas—and all the interiors’ reclaimed wood flooring, which will be naturally nonuniform. “With so much homogeneity in Southern California architecture,” Mozer says, “we’re aiming to create a herd: one-of-a-kind entities, but of the same species.” Sounds appealing.

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