A multi-dimensional goal for this project involved using the finest and most appropriate details that served an architectural purpose while underscoring energy efficiency.
“The restaurant was built for the next generation of energy codes,” Pace says.
An EPDM roof shields wood trusses with steel webbing.
“We added extra insulation for LEED cerification,” says Matt Piecnik of Dimit Architects, adding that the ultimate hope is for the project to become LEED Gold certified. Four high-efficiency HVAC units sit atop the roof.
Other efficiency details are as aesthetically pleasing as they are environmentally friendly. An overhang spanning the second-floor roof provides passive heat while shielding patrons from sun glare.
“Braided bamboo and woven rattan pendants recall traditional handicraft, illuminating the lobby against a backdrop of terra cotta block,” says Sarah Krivanka, a senior associate at Dimit.
Inside the restaurant, fiberglass panels provide excellent sound absorption on both floors.
“Sound mitigation was something we didn’t have in Akron that we wanted here,” Hirt says. “If you’re downstairs, you don’t hear a party upstairs.”
Such details illustrate the desire to ensure quality, even if that meant a greater cost in some areas. “For example, it would have been cheaper to shorten the overhang on the second floor, but that wouldn’t have been good value,” Pace says. “We needed to set the standard for quality in this location.”
Amid the open and minimalist layout, key design details draw attention.A multi-tiered wood chandelier commands a strong presence in the foyer. At the reception desk, a terra cotta partial wall mimics the Nuevo logo, a feature that is repeated inside the dining area. Cable railings inside and outside the restaurant tie together interior and exterior.
Creating a sense of openness wherever possible was the goal when it came to planning the interiors. Vents in cabinetry and open bases on center-aisle banquettes are just two clever notions employed by the design team at Dimit Architects. Such details continually reinforce the idea of the restaurant extending towards the exciting landscape.
Where color is used in the furnishings, it is meant to complement architectural elements. Banquette seating is covered in terra cotta the partial wall at the reception area, for example. Seating includes tables made by two of Hirt’s friends: Freddy Hill, of Lakewood, and Jason Skirrle, of Cleveland.
Murals add a Mexican flair in dining nooks. Vented cabinets surround the open kitchen, reinforcing an accessible, light ambience.
Nuevo is renowned for its food as well is its libations. Serving more than 100 types of tequila, the restaurant not surprisingly uses its bar as a priority focus.
Thanks to the use of natural elements and appropriate lighting, the first-floor bar eschews the typical heaviness of a restaurant bar. Instead, iit lends the sensation of almost floating in the dining area, a design feat that perfectly complements the lake just outside the doors.
Since opening in July of 2016, Nuevo has captivated diners who have been craving a place to nosh near the lake. The restaurant is packed for lunch and dinner, and many organizations have taken advantage of the second-floor for private functions.
As the first jewel in a crown that will highlight the royal beauty of Lake Erie, Nuevo has exceeded expectations. “We knew that we’d have success here,” Pace says of the restaurant project. “Now we have to continue that around the harbor.”