As Los Angeles turned over its streets to al fresco dining and Angelenos returned to a timeless, worldwide tradition—the communal exchange of food—the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIALA) announced its 2021 AIALA Restaurant Design Awards.

In total the design of nine restaurants, cafés, and bars, selected by a jury, were celebrated including two not-yet-built projects. The latter were recognized through “Unbuilt” categories, new to the AIALA Restaurant Design Awards, which were first held in 2007.

Of the awards given, Design Opera received the following . . .

Elementa Hotel Restaurant and Bar (Valle De Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico)

CATEGORY - RESTAURANTS (UNBUILT) : HONOR AWARD

Demonstrating strategies for dining in a new era, where al fresco is essential, “Unbuilt Restaurant” Honor award-winner Elementa Hotel Restaurant and Bar, designed by Design Opera, is a “great example of blurring the lines between indoor spaces and outdoor spaces,” the 2021 AIALA Restaurant Design Awards Jury noted. “The restaurant feels truly integrated with and complementary of the surrounding landscape.”

Kemuri Ramen Bar (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico)

CATEGORY - RESTAURANTS (BUILT) : MERIT AWARD

" Simple, classic, understated and perfectly executed. Great, bold design for such a small space. Incredible details and material selection. Every color, tone, texture and even material reflectance was considered. The jury loved the countertop, the black on black back of line and use of different woods. "

This is the fourteenth year that the AIALA has organized the Restaurant Design Awards,” said AIALA Executive Director Carlo Caccavale, Hon. AIALA, who was the originator of the program. “The AIALA Restaurant Design Awards were initiated to highlight how designers work in concert with restaurateurs and chefs to provide a backdrop that enhances and supports cuisine. These last eighteen months have demonstrated just how much people rely on the community offered by restaurants to enliven their lives. Designers foster community through placemaking.

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