The James Beard Foundation awards nominees were announced this week. Here's a look inside the restaurant design awards nominees.
The awards are given for the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2015. Winners will be announced on May 7, 2018.
75 Seats and Under
76 Seats and Over
Design Icon Award
2018 Design Icon honoree The American Restaurant opened on Valentine’s Day 1974 atop Crown Center in Kansas City. Designed by Warren Platner, it became the conceptual parent of all the over-the-top top-of-the-building restaurants that followed, including some by Platner himself. Platner described it as, “Bridging the contrast in scale between great volume of space and the minute detail of food and tableware, between public gathering and personal intimacy, the design entertains the diner and gives distinction to the server in this emporium of elaborate meals.”
One travels to The American by elevator, arriving at the top of the three story-high restaurant in a carefully designed but modest entry space. As the visitor descends into the restaurant, the grand 6,500-square-foot space is dramatically revealed as the terraced landings create an enormous glass-lined theater with views to the city visible below. The lacy Gothic-inspired bentwood rosette-topped pillars above not only lend a “dining under the trees” feel, but, because they line the ceiling, make for an intriguing view from the street below. Miles of wood louvers cover the sheets of glass adding to the sense of tree-filtered light and making a very large space feel quite intimate. While design elements have been altered in the intervening decades, the largest gestures, including the decorative wood elements, are all intact.
"We are honored to receive the Design Icon Award from the James Beard Foundation," says Stacey Paine, president, Crown Center Redevelopment Corporation. “Warren Platner created a unique design, timeless in nature and a wonderful example of great architecture inspiring those around it. We are proud to have The American recognized.”
And a vintage snap of the same space, from 1974: