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Contrasting elements fill Imperfecto restaurant in Washington DC by OOAK

Marble, wood and brass are among the eclectic materials found in an upscale eatery in Washington DC that was designed by Greek-Swedish studio OOAK Architects.


Located in the US capital’s West End neighbourhood, Imperfecto serves up a fusion of Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine.

Imperfecto restaurant
Imperfecto is a Mediterranean and Latin American restaurant

The restaurant was designed by OOAK Architects, an Athens- and Stockholm-based studio, with input from the photographer and art director Yiorgos Kordakis. OOAK won the commission through an invited competition.

While designing the space, the team took inspiration from Mediterranean motifs, such as a blue-and-white colour scheme, along with the restaurant’s overall essence.

Wooden maître-d stand
Upon entering, one finds a maître-d stand made of burl wood

Imperfecto is described as a “culinary experience whose imperfection derives from the divine synthesis of seemingly incompatible elements, worlds and aesthetic identities”.

Rectangular in plan, the restaurant seats 98 guests. The front of the house is divided into three zones: a bar, a main dining room and a chef’s table.

Interiors by OOAK
OOAK paired neutral tones with splashes of blue

A private dining room and outdoor seating were recently added.

Throughout the eatery, the team paired neutral tones with large splashes of blue and white. In each space, white walls and partitions have varying textures and reflect light in different ways.

Drop-shaped, glass fixtures
Drop-shaped glass fixtures hang overhead

The restaurant has a mixed material palette that includes wood, terracotta and marble. Rooms are fitted with custom furniture by OOAK and pieces from leading brands and artists, such as Verpan and Marset.

“OOAK Architects has used varied, high-quality finishes and authentic materials including Greek and Italian marbles, as well as brass and wood from different parts of the world, creating contrasting textures across the space,” the team said.

Upon entering, one finds a maître-d stand made of burl wood, along with handmade ceramic pieces by Athens- and London-based artist Melina Xenaki.

To one side of the lobby is the bar, which features large arches and bespoke lighting fixtures by Orbium, along with an abstract mural-photograph of a Greek quarry by Kordakis. The room’s snowy white, marble bar is lined with crimson red stools.

Snowy white marble bar
A white marble bar is lined with crimson red stools

To the other side of the lobby is the main dining room, which is adorned with wooden tables and chairs covered in Kvadrat fabric.

Overhead are drop-shaped, glass fixtures by Swedish artist Simon Klenell. The lighting fixtures emit a warm glow that is meant to simulate the “comfort of the sun over the Aegean”.

Restaurant by OOAK
Curved leather banquettes line the back wall

Along a back wall in the main room, the team placed a row of “silos” with leather banquettes and round tables. Overhead are curved enclosures that help create a pod-like feeling.

Adjoining the main room is the chef’s table area, which is fitted with a communal table made of elm, leather-backed chairs and a cylindrical, brass lighting fixture from Orbium. The back wall is covered with a zigzag-patterned screen made of terracotta tile from Mutina.

OOAK, which stands for One of a Kind, is led by Maria Papafigou and Johan Annerhed. Other projects by the studio include a concrete house that cantilevers over a rocky cliff on the Greek island of Karpathos.

The photography is by Jennifer Chase and Yiorgos Kordakis.

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