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Justin Smillie's Upland Was Designed with the Badlands in Mind

Design team Roman and Williams talk about what inspires a restaurant space, and how to make a space sparkle.

Daniel Krieger

Design firm Roman and Williams is turning up more and more in restaurant circles. They designed Lafayette, The Breslin, The Dutch, and most recently Justin Smillie's Upland. Principals Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch chat with Dwell about designing Upland, which is named for Smillie's hometown in the Badlands of California:

The food drives the details of design....The deep greens and fresh whites in this space, combined with the copper touches, create a very lively yet relaxed environment. Colors are always inspired by nature, in this case, the hillsides of California. The greens are the lush, rolling farmlands; the coppers are inspired by how that verdant hillside can change during a drought or cold season. These elements really define the intent of the space and enhance the California vibe of the food.

They also explain the lighting situation that gives all of those Instagrams a glow: "We use a lot of points of light which have been dialed down, to keep the lighting low but plentiful. That's what makes something feel sparkling, beautiful, and special."


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