Opened last fall but shuttered during the pandemic, Animae in San Diego, Calif., has plans to reopen on July 22.
Designed by Los Angeles-based Bells + Whistles, Animae is a Japanese-enchanted forest-art deco mash-up that sets the stage for Chef Brian Malarkey’s distinctive coal-fired pan-Asian menu.
A bespoke wool carpet stretches the length of the 6,000-square-foot space, mimicking the sun-kissed forest floor’s on Japan’s Yakushima Island. A custom noir terrazzo floor snakes like a shimmering river alongside it.
Lush jade-toned velvet-covered booths rise from the floor as cedar trees segue up and into art-deco inspired architectural panels layering the space alongside dramatic curtains, creating a fantastical, theater-life experience. Draped fringe-covered columns contribute to the whimsy, while golden Fortuny chandeliers hang throughout.
The 20-person bar at Animae also provides a feast for the senses. On center stage is a backlit mural of Berlin artists Sauer and Posavec's, Big Chuck, depicting a dystopian mech futuristic battle. It is surrounded by scalloped uplighting from which deco wings spread and take flight.