Chef’s Table - Designs on Atlanta’s restaurants

Ed Seiber founded Seiber Design Inc. in 1987. Today he has nine employees, including architects and interior designers.

What spaces have you designed?

Restaurant Eugene, Spice, Garrison’s at Vinings and Medlock Bridge, Wisteria, California Dreaming in Gwinnett, and New York Prime. I’m working on something with Ricardo Ullio.

How’d your practice come to be so heavily focused on hospitality?

Specialties come about through happenstance, through circumstance. I had a job with a firm that was doing Houston’s restaurants. When I went out on my own, I re-established that connection and became really interested in kitchen design. That started me down the path of restaurant design.

What are some differences in designing a restaurant vs. other commercial spaces?

Restaurants pack a lot into very small buildings. By that, I mean two diametrically opposed areas — the front of house and the back of house. Many clients approach the space like they are asking people into their home — the same care, attention to detail, focus on comfort, image and presentation that make it a hospitable social space. There’s a theatrical aspect as well. The back of house, especially in large-volume restaurants, is like a small factory, with intense plumbing, utility, mechanical and electrical requirements. You have to marry the two together seamlessly and unobtrusively.

What about color or material trends?

Gosh, they change every year. It is often tailored to our clients’ specific desires. But I will say, one thing we have been talking about more and more is the comfort of seating and the acoustical qualities of space — a sense of luxury.

That is markedly different from many newer venues.

I am focused on smaller venues with a sense of intimacy. Neighborhood places.

Do you have a dream project?

I’ve always wanted to do a contemporary country club with a decidedly modernist bent.

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