A Taste of Old Sweden in Coastal New England

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Text by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni 

Images courtesy of Beinfield Architecture 

Featured Company: Beinfield Architecture

Location: Southport, CT

Project Type: Restaurant

Project Name: Artisan

Located on the ground floor of the boutique Delamar Southport Hotel in the coastal Connecticut town of Southport, Artisan Restaurant, Tavern, and Garden exemplifies the ideal integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. Architect Mark P. Goodwin of the Norwalk firm Beinfield Architecture collaborated with Liza Laserow of Laserow Antiques and Interior Designs to create an atmosphere that incorporates classic 18th Century Scandinavian design while also staying true to the regional hallmarks of the restaurant’s New England setting.

Goodwin’s emphasis on clean, understated elegance comes through in his chosen color palette. Though one is immediately struck by full-wall renderings of magnolias and tulips by Swedish muralist-painter Jonas Wickman, the space is imbued by soft and unimpos- ing tones of green, beige, and gray.

And because Artisan consists of four dining areas, including an outdoor patio, Goodwin and Laserow’s design draws on the constant transference of light and space. From any indoor location in the restaurant, one is always conscious of the outdoor elements and vice versa. Though it faces an enclosed area, the way that Goodwin nestled the patio

bar into the smooth curvature of the building recalls the type of seamless storefront-sidewalk boundary that so often renders European cities and traditional American small towns so appealing. The bar architecture in relation to the patio suggests Goodwin’s grasp on fundamental civic design principles that help humanize spaces while making them more amenable to activity.

In order to create a simultaneous sense of separation and unity, Goodwin employed columns prominently through- out his plan. “The column grid and panel-infill system create order and bring calm to the active spaces, and it helped establish clearly defined zones within the space for each entrance,”he says. “The columns define the passages between the dining room and bar room on both sides of the bar, the passage to the hotel lobby, the passage to the service area and kitchen, the entrance to the private dining room, etc. Visually, the columns create a sense of place for the architectural elements of the restaurant, such as the oxidized mirrored back bar iron panels, the three large wrought-iron double doors that lead to the garden, and the antique Scandinavian sconces.”

Artisan also features a kakelugn, a Swedish tile stove typically found in farmhouses. “It reminded proprietor Rick Wahlstedt of his childhood in Sweden,” Goodwin says—proving that nostalgia can be applied artfully.

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