William Duff Architects (WDA), a California-based architecture and interior design firm—whose hospitality projects range from airport lounges to food court outposts, and fast casual and contemporary casual restaurants for both established and emerging brands—recently completed Local Kitchens’ Palo Alto location. It is the micro food hall’s largest location to date, at 2,200 square feet, and its fifth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Local Kitchens started with a big idea that co-founders Jon Goldsmith, Andrew Munday and Jordan Bramble wanted to realize, and that is to bring the best cuisines under one roof,” said Jonathan Tsurui, WDA associate principal in a statement. Tsurui, who works closely with WDA founder Willam S. Duff, Jr, AIA, to manage the firm’s retail practice, adds, “WDA helped Local Kitchens develop their proof of concept (first location) in Lafayette.”
Each kitchen has a specific layout and workflow to ensure an optimal shared kitchen environment for anywhere from 5-10 featured restaurant brands. For the Palo Alto location, the existing kitchen was expanded by consultant County Restaurant Supply, while WDA deployed Local Kitchens’ new branding and updated aesthetic by creative services agency Play Studio to the front-of-house, setting the stage for future locations.
“With each location slightly different in size and focus, incorporating architecture brand guideline templates across all locations will help Local Kitchens grow,” notes David Grey, Director of Construction & Design. He adds, “Architecture plays a role in our brand building, and for the Palo Alto location in particular, WDA helped us create a design and architecture template that we can scale.”
The challenge of unifying the brand architecturally made for an exciting experience for project manager Chris Stokes, job captain Katerina Leung, and the rest of the WDA design team. As Stokes puts it, “How creative can we be on an extremely compressed schedule?”
WDA’s adaptive design approach allowed function to determine form, which is necessary in dynamic projects where pivoting is often required. Tsurui explains, “Local Kitchens is always improving to ensure each location is successful. They are open to ideas and feedback, and passionate about their concept, which stokes our passion for designing.”