Chicago suffered another crushing defeat to the hands of Brazil: first its Olympic bid loss to Rio and now best new restaurant design to Sao Paulo. Wallpaper* announced the winners in its Design Awards 2010 competition yesterday afternoon. The Chicago restaurant, Terzo Piano, nestled on top of the new Renzo Piano’s addition to the Art Institute, was nominated in the Best New Restaurant category along with contenders from Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, and Portugal. It ultimately lost to Sao Paulo’s Amazonian-inspired Kaa.
Terzo Piano is situated on top of the Modern Wing, accessible via the museum or the long pedestrian bridge from Millennium Park. Wallpaper* gives design credit to Renzo Piano (architecture) and local architect Dirk Denison (interior design). The former is responsible for the beautifully framed views through the – albeit dangerous – curtain of glass looking out to Millennium Park and the latter for the sleek stark-white interior featuring chairs by George Nelson . The dangerous glass reference refers to a visit in early spring where I witnessed a guest of the restaurant walk face first into one of the glass panels separating the dining the room from the outdoor terrace. The following day, likely at the behest of their legal department, small, tasteful, if somewhat distracting decals had been placed on the windows.
Perhaps this slightly macabre anecdotal story would have given Terzo Piano an edge over Brazil with the kooky jury, which included the Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, French fashion designer John Galliano, and British media executive James Murdoch.