AD PRO: How did you manage to connect each area to feel like one cohesive design?
LG: While each level has different flooring, we chose to paint the whole structure of the building white. It automatically brings your eye up to look at the dome ceiling, which connects the mezzanine to [the rest of the] space. We also chose to have several light fixtures and plants depart from the dome-area ceiling at different eye levels. This choice made a seamless transition from the mezzanine to the downstairs area.
AD PRO: How did you land on that indigo color palette?
LG: Indigo has historic ties to India; it also generally adds a lot of texture to the fabric. We used that color as a base and built around it by adding other textures that would give [the room] a casual feel, but also create a great environment.
Indian heritage comes through in the indigo-hued seating.
Photo: Patricia Chang
AD PRO: How did Ettan’s menu inspire the overall design?
LG: The food is an interesting, eclectic mix of textures and colors within each plate. I’d never had anything like it. We wanted to emulate that in the design. We played heavily with materials and pieces from different eras. We have a Victorian wallpaper that we applied to the lower seating area, while in the back, we put a modern hexagon tile with an interesting sculpture that Thomas developed himself.
Design Team: Principal Thomas Schoos, senior partner Lisa Gill, senior designer Catia Sander
Size: 5,590 square feet (interior), 1,705 square feet (exterior patio)
Location: Palo Alto, California
Timeline: 18 months
Biggest challenge you faced in the design: “Working with the old bones of the building over the three floors and creating a flow to the design that interacted with each level.” —Lisa Gill
Biggest ticket item: “Replacing the colored glass in the dome.” —LG
Smallest ticket item: “Tassels hanging from the bottom of the suspended planters.” —LG
An idea you almost went with: “We almost left the bar in its original location. But with the identity we wanted to create, the flow was better in its new location. It also gave us the opportunity to develop a bar that had its own character.” —LG
The most interesting thing on the project mood board: “Indigo cloths.” —LG