Los Angeles-based firm Studio UNLTD has unveiled it’s latest project: Callie, the first solo restaurant from chef Travis Swikard, located in San Diego’s East Village. The warm, soulful design tells the story of an intrepid explorer returning home after a long journey abroad—manifesting in an eclectic palette that reflects the fusion of Mediterranean and California sensibilities.

Upon arriving in the bar lounge, diners are introduced to an elaborate installation, comprising raw glulam beams crafted to recall a breaking wave, suspended above the stone and corten steel bar. A backdrop of warm tones and materials call to mind the golden hour, while skate and surf references disrupt Callie’s Old World-inspired aesthetic.

Abundant greenery populates the dining room along with marine blue chairs and rust-colored booths that instill a coastal flair. The vast banquette—upholstered in concrete gray and detailed with a yellow “rail” backrest reminiscent of a skate park—serves as a buffer between the dining room and bar. Textured denim blue and decorative tiles adorn dining room columns as well, while honey-toned European oak spans the floors.

Further animating the dining room are focal points like the floor-to-ceiling wine room, the private dining room, and the chef’s show kitchen. Views into the kitchen are punctuated by the V-shaped exhaust hood clad in corten steel to echo the form of a rusted ship hull. Partitions of steel and glass line the private dining room, where wood floors give way to a contemporary Persian rug in rich burgundy tones.

“When we partner with chefs that bring a lot to the table, it makes our job even more enjoyable and because we are meeting their intensity with similar energy, the results can be really special,” says Studio UNLTD founding principal Greg Bleier. “Finding that connection and being able to deliver a design that is, at once, very personal and in strict alignment with the client’s values and goals is a great feeling. This was very much the case with our design for Callie and I just know this will translate into great success for the restaurant.”

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