Dutch East Design was tasked with drawing on the essence of Italy through curated furniture, finishes, and greenery at the Primo Restaurant at JW Marriott Ritz Resort in Orlando.
Located at the JW Marriott Ritz Resort in Orlando, FL, Primo is a Puglian-inspired restaurant helmed by two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef Melissa Kelly, founded on the principle of being stewards of the land, where nothing is wasted, and everything has a place, reinforcing the interconnectedness with what nature offers. New York City-based design and branding agency Dutch East Design has taken on the redesign of the Orlando restaurant and brought forward a completely new layout for the 215 interior seats and 50 terrace seat eatery, bringing through Chef Kelly’s Puglian heritage and “full circle kitchen” philosophy in the forefront of the design.
Upon entering, the arrival and bar lounge pays homage to an archetypal Italian courtyard with sweeping archways, decorative screens, and furnishings all within a tone appropriate for an alfresco experience. The palette is influenced by a rustic and handmade quality – a mix of varnished copper, tumbled limestone, ceramic, terra cotta brick create a sublime tactile experience all with sweeping ceiling heights to feel open, and custom metal grille screens that act as the backdrop to the bar and open up to the hotel lobby beyond. The bar counter has a glazed brick front and copper top with a Cle terra cotta tile backdrop. The chef counter follows suit with the same materials at the bar, and gives guests a direct connection with the display and working kitchen, feeling as if they are part of the process. The overall layout creates a series of dining salons, each framed with a soft archway and brick threshold with grand ceiling heights layered with hand-troweled plaster walls throughout. The private dining room is nestled in the back of the restaurant and connected by custom arched metal/ribbed glass doors, all with separate direct access to the kitchen. In celebration of the land on which Primo lays, Dutch East Design gave new life to the terrace, adorning the space with a new trellis, drink rails, herb planter boxes, and flowering plants cascading overhead all finished in a deep-sea blue palette. Guests dining on the terrace have a view of the on-premise 7,000 square-foot farm, where Chef Kelly has access to the resort’s local fruits, vegetables, and herbs garden, adding to the all-encompassing experience.
Dutch East Design custom-designed collections for lighting, seating, screens, and casegoods all detailed in finishes such as etched ceramic and caning, which allude to the quintessential Italian palette. The custom banquettes have various designs some of which have caning accents and upholstered in an array of textural fabrics with finessed patterning, calling to traditional Italian embroidery. The custom lighting collection is made up of glazed ceramic, etched ceramic, caning and powdered coated metal fixtures, alluding to the classic Italian metal gates. Primo’s design is a confluence of the essence of Chef Kelly’s narrative established in her restaurant as a lifestyle and brings forth the hand quality of the land, and the celebration of the Italian courtyard.
Design: Dutch East Design Photography: Seamus Payne
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