The hype is all about the food at Aragona, the newest endeavor by Spinasse and Artusi’s Jason Stratton and chef de cuisine Carrie Mashaney (who is currently kicking butt on Top Chef New Orleans) but I stopped in yesterday, during the calm before the opening night storm and got a sneak peek at the décor, which is off-the-hook cool and totally fresh.
Stratton is for sure the mastermind behind the Spanish concept—having lived and travelled there extensively—and his excellent taste is seen throughout the space (hot pink railings in the bar stand out—an insider tells me that hot pink is his jam right now), but it’s the work of local designer Erich Ginder that really sends this place to the front of the pack in terms of other restaurant décor in this town.
Ginder and his crew conceptualized and custom fabricated all of the lighting in the soaring space that divulges no hint of the Hawaiian, Italian and Vietnamese establishments that previously inhabited the primo spot across the street from the Four Seasons. Materials include cardboard (in the guise of Ginder’s die cut Dot/Dash pendants), brass, hand blown glass and wood, distinct in their design and relating to each other pretty much through their awesomeness as opposed to any throughway in their composition.
Bar stools are crafted from heavy powder coated steel and layers of carpet padding; comfortable and sturdy, no wobbling off after too many glasses of Cava. Accessories, while minimal, are statement-makers, including two huge, impressive geodes from Pioneer Square’s Agate Designs (geodes, after all, are the new succulents).
And the restaurant’s best seat in the house, tucked away on the south end of the main dining room is clad in Ginder’s rad Warez Rose wallpaper: a flower motif made out of ASCII symbols, both retro and refreshingly modern at the same time.
Booths in the bar are backed by quilts, handmade to Ginder’s specifications by a group on one of the islands, and bring just the right touch of homespun to the place, grounded by the fabric’s organic shapes.
Perhaps the most breathtaking part of the main dining room is a tall column decked out in a splintered tile cacophony by local mosaic artist Kate Jessup—dazzling with rectangles of gold, white, marble and that hot pink from before.
And while I probably I don’t need to tell you this, be sure to check out the bathroom while you’re at Aragona. Jessup had some fun in there as well.
If it’s the food you’re really interested, here are some beauty shots of that as well.