Il Fornaio Caffe Del Mondo

San Francisco, CA
Posted June 14, 2001

It may be difficult to comprehend that in the early days of passenger flights, restaurants in airports were white-linen elegant. Today, after 40 years of wandering through a fast-food desert, airport restaurants are making a comeback. Il Fornaio Caffe Del Mondo in San Francisco's new International Airport is one recent example.

Most of the 22 restaurants owned by Il Fornaio America (Corte Madera, Calif.) have been designed with materials, colors and decorations that emulate authentic Italian marketplaces. But designers at BALDAUF CATTON VON ECKARTSBERG (BCV Architects, San Francisco) believed that something different was required for an airport location, where space was somewhat limited and an Italian marketplace theme might be inappropriate.

Taking their cue instead from the grand bars found in transportation terminals throughout the world, BCV chose bold iconic architectural touches and traditionally elegant materials such as cherry wood and carrara marble to sit in stark contrast with the modern terminal atriums around it.

There are two Il Fornaio Caffe Del Mondo locations at SFO: a winebar with a counter for specialty coffees and a display case offering baked goods, sandwiches and salads; and a more elaborate facility, with tables. Both are designed to bring the ambience of a rich and tasteful oasis to tired travelers wanting more than a thin burger.

Client Team: Il Fornaio America, Corte Madera, Calif. -- Scott Roderick, Carmen Mayo and Michael Levine, design team

Design Team: BALDAUF CATTON VON ECKARTSBERG (BCV Architects), San Francisco -- Chris von Eckartsberg, Hans Baldauf and Ken Catton, design principals; Brian Milford, project manager/architect

Suppliers: Architectural Woodwork of Montana, Columbia Falls, Mont. (fixturing); Thonet, Statesville, N.C., EmuAmericas, Bridgeport, Conn., Shelby Williams, San Francisco (furniture); RDG Designs, San Francisco (graphics); Luce Contract/Neidhartdt Lighting, San Francisco, Benya Lighting Design, W. Linn, Ore. (lighting); Bill Moore & Associates, Albany, Calif. (signage); Chalktalk, Long Beach, Calif. (menuboard); Duracite, Benicia, Calif. (stone); Eclipse, Point Richmond, Calif. (metalwork); Harrison Koellner LLC, S. San Francisco, Calif. (food service)

Photography: JD Peterson, San Francisco