Belt Buster

EOM’s Vespertine combines sculptural architecture with experimental food

Architecture Open West
The exterior of Vespertine. (Courtesy Tom Bonner Photography)
The exterior of Vespertine. (Courtesy Tom Bonner Photography)

Vespertine
3599 Hayden Avenue
Culver City, California
Tel: 323-320-4023

Eric Owen Moss Architects (EOM) recently completed work on Vespertine, a new 5,500-square-foot structure housing a boutique restaurant helmed by chef Jordan Kahn that was developed hand-in-hand with EOM principal Eric Owen Moss and other artists as a convergent experience joining food, architecture, and music. The gridded tower is made up of an undulating stack of powder-coated steel plates infilled with panes of glass and rises 50 feet housing two interior levels and a mezzanine. A clumpy garden filled with concrete benches and horsetail sits beside the tower, filling out a footprint identical to that of the monolith.

When diners arrive, drinks are served in the horsetail garden, where a wedge-shaped concrete-block storage room also houses a bar. The glass-clad ground floor of the building is left unadorned, occupied only by a sculptural table suspended from the ceiling that wraps around the 38-by-38-foot space. An elevator housed in the building’s core takes guests to the second-floor kitchen, an all black arrangement of parallel worktables and induction burners where black-clad cooks use Olfa knives to dice vegetables and turn them into various pastes, gels, and foams. After conferring with the chef, diners make it to the roof terrace above, where custom bean bag chairs and tables built from ready-made woodworking benches fill out the space.

Sometime during the 21-course meal, diners flow down into the building’s mezzanine level, where banquettes and movable acrylic tables outfit a proper dining room. Ceiling spotlights and etched tabletops work in tandem to refract light through and around the food. At the end of the meal, diners descend back onto the ground floor, where the sculptural table offers a parting gift containing scents inspired by the night’s meal.

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