Dining Design Diary: Freeland Buck Designs Maximiliano

Now open for just about three weeks, Maximiliano in Highland Park brings old school Italian and new school design to the slowly gentrifying nabe. Designed by NY- and L.A.-based architecture firm Freeland Buck, the triangular space features the firm's signature use of pattern, color and light.

 Creating the appearance of movement seems to be a specialty of Freeland Buck, who used light baffles so effectively at gourmet deli Earl's in West LA. At Maximiliano, the south wall features a graphical mural of embossed white stripes that descend from the ceiling in random waves to the seats (and which seem to be a visual reference to strands of spaghetti). There is also brightly painted slats that create a 3D optical effect, which the architects said are intended to "recall the visual instability of 1970's Op Art." 

At the buffed stainless steel bar, patrons can order seven Craftsman beers on draught as part of a partnership with brewer Mark Jilg in Pasadena. Chef Andre Guerrero (who also owns the Oinkster) has updated Italian classics like spaghetti and meatballs and pepperoni pizza. Dishes are reasonably priced, with most falling in the $6-18 range.

 

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