July 19, 2016
Located in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Copine—designed by Kirsten R. Murray of Olson Kundig—occupies a prominent corner of a new mixed-use building with large windows that draw in natural daylight on all three sides. The layout of the restaurant frames the open kitchen, offering guests a view into the artistry behind Chef Shaun McCrain’s approach to contemporary American cuisine that is highlighted with classic French cooking techniques. The historic neighborhood of Ballard, originally settled as a maritime-centric district, is now one of the city’s most popular destinations with a wide selection of bars, shops and restaurants.
Shaun McCrain and Jill Kinney, the couple behind Copine, were determined that the aesthetics of the restaurant would be equal parts intimate and social while offering a scale of transparency throughout that allowed the food to take center stage. In the new space traditional and contemporary furniture elements combine with reclaimed and adapted materials to create a refined, warm material palette. Juxtaposed with new kitchen equipment, exposed systems, and existing concrete, the space is a balance of old and new. The interiors are grounded in a human scale through the use of art walls, plants, and reclaimed objects, which add a sense of personality and texture.
The unfolding of the visitor experience—bar, dining area, chef’s table—begins as guests are greeted in the entry foyer and marketplace area. Custom casework with open shelves reveals the dining area beyond, while the reclaimed wood cladding on the host station adds character and depth. The long bar, clad with reclaimed wood and topped with a deep metallic shade of Richlite, a paper-composite surface, acts as an intimate space for dining and drinks. A rough-hewn Douglas fir trellis suspended over the bar adds atmosphere and texture. Strategically placed walls for artworks, painted in creamy white, conceal building mechanical systems and lend a sense of privacy between dining zones. A live-edge elm slab bisects the space between the bar and main dining area; the slab transforms into a central serving station during events.
Working with Olson Kundig was an incredible experience. Kirsten and her team were receptive to all of our input and helped us to create a space that really feels both inviting and refined. We wanted a Pacific Northwest nod that brought in elements of wood and earth, as well as some reclaimed pieces. They met the few challenges we encountered with grace and a positive response. Shaun and I are very grateful.Jill Kinney, co-owner of Copine
The chef’s table by the open kitchen affords larger parties the opportunity to experience this busy kitchen firsthand. Set off the main dining space, the table gives an intimate view into the process, tradition and attention to detail that characterizes McCrain’s cuisine.
I was really inspired by this project and the opportunity it presented to see and learn more about Shaun and Jill’s creative process. It was this process and their personalities that drove the design and it became a really personal experience for me.Kirsten R. Murray, Design Principal
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