Salty Coconut Grove


Type: Commission

Client: Salty

Location: Miami, FL

Status: In Construction

Principal in Charge: Everald Colas AIA NOMA

Project Lead Designer: Kristel Bataku

The Salty is a donut company that values design, the communities it is a part of, and the atmosphere of each of its locations.  This stands in contrast to the normative franchise model that values consistency – read homogeneity – in design.  The formula defines all locations as a single place unto themselves, distinct and apart from their surroundings.  Or, the typical franchise food-service model is place-less by design. The Salty isn’t typical. 

The Salty at Coconut Grove makes many subtle nods to the marine architecture common to coastal Florida.  Design cues are a synthesis of mid-century modern and Miami art-deco arranged playfully while the glass façade allows the Florida sun to play a central role.  The result is an open, light-filled space where patrons can fully enjoy bay-life even when they’re not visiting the edge of Biscayne Bay.

History is important in this project.  Taking inspiration from icons of Florida architecture, the eclectic mix of modern and classic detailing weaves the Salty Grove into a rich design heritage unique to Florida, and indeed its neighborhood.  The nearby Coconut Grove playhouse serves as precedent for the application of eclectic detailing.  This is reflective of the diverse influences upon the Florida vernacular and translates into a specific grounding of each element in the Salty.  Light fixtures are mounted within specially designated panels recessed or protruding from the wall, unique to that fixture.  Shelves are set within niches.  Nothing is simply attached or mounted, instead everything has its place that is its own. 

Further recalling the rich design heritage of its place, the Storyn Studio for Architecture makes use of other “old-Florida” gestures and material palettes.  The slightly reflective and smooth curved lines of the cabinet walls draw an immediate association with the boat hulls and cabin detailing of vessels moored a short distance away. The reflective barrel vault interior (counters/ opposes) the coffered ceiling to skillfully introduce contrasting textures referencing Florida interiors from and 1940s and 1950s.  Authentic white plastered walls – common to “old-Florida” but rare now – introduce another, more organic, texture to the arrangement as they rise to meet the highly detailed ceiling elements.  Texture and articulation of surfaces is further exaggerated by a lighting scheme that washes surfaces with indirect light to amplify shadow lines and proved a soft ambient light filling the space.  So, whether by natural sunlight, or integrated light fixtures, the space will remain bright and open.