Downtown Los Angeles
"I ate at Rivera more times than I really needed to. I couldn’t help myself."
- Irene S. Virbila, Los Angeles Times
We began with Chef John Rivera Sedlar's vision for a modern Latin restaurant where Latin art comes to life both on the plate and in the space. We then created a "language" to tell that story. Mayan carvings and pre-Columbian culture were the inspiration for a dining experience that plays out in three distinct spaces. The story begins on the street with a bronze wall of Rivera hieroglyphics that finally disappear into the walnut entry door as a transition into another world. Once inside the "language" transforms itself into a series of bronze tasting chairs on a bed of brazilian marble. Crystal "bricks" of Sedlar's own Tequila are locked in a sanctuary wall where guests can access their own bottle and "sip the architecture," or taste flights from our own custom Tronas, tequila tasting chairs. Ambitious to say the least.
The three dining rooms each lend a distinct experience. The Sangre dining room, Samba lounge, and Playa raw bar. According to Sotto "It was challenging to channel Sedlar's mind, but when the designer and the chef create the space together, it is truly seamless." Sotto's bronze Tronas chairs alone were designed around a special tasting plate. Chef and designer in mental lockstep.
Rivera gained acclaim not only for John's cuisine, but for it's continuity as a design that treated each course of the meal and a visual and experiential moment. The chance to collaborate with a talent like Chef Sedlar is a once in a lifetime event.
In the end, SottoStudios created a total experience - from the music you hear, the media you see, the identity, furnishings, even down to the tequila bottle that informs the rest of the space.
The CGI video seen right depicts what the machines sees when cutting the steel structure for one of 8 Bronze "Tronas," tequila tasting chairs. These same files and shapes were also used to cut the exterior Bronze grilles, backbar, heads for the bottles of tequila in the library, and even the walnut front door.