Comal Restaurant, Berkeley
Marites Abueg (mary-tess AH-bweg) and Keith Morris launched their namesake architectural firm in 2003. Independently, we have 20 years of architectural experience in restaurants, food service, food retail, residential remodeling and interiors.
We take your raw, conceptual ideas and bring them to three-dimensional fruition, with authentic style, substance, and grace, specific to you and your project. You won't see fixed museum compositions or cookie-cutter design in our work. Our designs focus on sensory experience and clear communication. We use the qualities of warmth, color, light, texture, clean lines, and human scale to form the foundation for a project's genuine voice and character.
We love all challenges, including budgetary and time challenges. We work in tandem with an experienced team of contractors, vendors and fabricators to keep projects on time and on budget.
Many of our current restaurant projects emphasize local, organic food sources and sustainable farming, whose philosophies infuse our own sustainably-focused design work.
Comal's Communal table and entry: The architects designed a 48" diameter custom copper mesh drum chandelier for one of two communal tables. The artwork is by John Bisbee who heats 12" steel spikes, forms them into branding irons, and then sears a plywood surface, creating a mandala-like pattern. Repurposed coffee bags cover "tectum" acoustic panels that form a continuous wainscot around the restaurant.
Bar Pendants: Custom turquoise blue glass pendants are by local glass blower Lee Miltier. The simple raw steel and wood back bar features amber LED lights which graze the surface of the concrete walls. Photo: Eurydice Galka
Nopalito Restaurant: Nopalito restaurant, named 2009 Best New SF restaurant by SF Weekly and Esquire Magazine, features zinc countertops, red wine soaked oak staves on the bar front, and a modern, atypical Mexican restaurant feel. The 1300 sf dining space features a custom high communal table. All tables and wood benches are from a single fallen oak from the Sierra foothills. Photo: eurydice galka
Nopalito Restaurant: We achieved the glowing lantern effect during the day by the use of gradated paint color and a gradated color tile backsplash. Photo: eurydice galka
Nopalito Lighting: Repurposed #10 tomato cans were formed into pendant lights while coffee bags from ebay and blue bottle form new acoustic sound treatment panels. Photo: eurydice galka
Roam Artisan Burgers: Roam Artisan Burgers features organic and sustainable meat and produce, with house-made condiments and sodas, kombucha on tap, and Strauss organic shakes. Salvaged barn siding from Black's Farmwood, vintage steel beams and local Heath tile add substance and character to the rustic, yet clean, fast-casual ambiance.
Roam Communal Table: Custom communal table from laminated strips of wood shop scraps by local furniture maker, Conor Mehan.
Roam Bar: A custom seven Strauss milk bottle light by local shop Metro Lighting, A careful composition of barnwood siding, steel, tile and charcoal mirrors create a backdrop and storage for the bar.
Noe Street Kitchen: A San Francisco victorian's new modern kitchen features walnut cabinetry by Thomas Wold, and reclaimed barn siding flooring from Black's Farmwood. Photo: eurydice galka
Noe Street Kitchen: A sliding walnut panel (left) hides a stacked washer and dryer, and glides past the Subzero glass front refrigerator. Photo: eurydice galka
Monterey Street Bathroom: Shaker simplicity meets asian styling and serene lines in this bathroom remodel. Photo: eurydice galka
Monterey Street Bathroom: Antique Chinese screens are from Nancy McKay, and custom pendant lights are by local lighting designer Michael McEwen. Custom vanity and custom sliding medicine cabinet panel are by Randall Wilson. In collaboration with Alhorn Hooven Design Build. Photo: eurydice galka
Monterey Street Bathroom: A shallow stainless steel pan set into the flooring holds river washed rocks. Tub by Wetstyle. An elm bath shelf matches the vanity. Photo: eurydice galka
Comal Restaurant: Comal is a 2300 sf Oaxacan restaurant in downtown Berkeley. It features a state of the art acoustic dampening sound system by Meyer Sound. Original board-formed concrete walls were exposed, and the original wood lath was cleaned and reinstalled as a prominent decorative surface.The space's raw, yet refined aesthetic features locally blown glass pendants, custom copper mesh drum lights, and steel bar shelves and stools, all made locally. An expansive 2800 sf heated back patio completes the space.
Comal Entry View: Exposed wood lath on the walls and ceiling contrast with the raw concrete walls. A turquoise blue fabric soffit is one of many acoustic dampening moves.