World famous as the heart of California’s premier wine production, Napa Valley is also the home of the Town of Yountville, a small community that is also world renowned for its food culture with signature restaurants such as the French Laundry and Bouchon.
The Hillstone Restaurant Group, known for its previous success in the region with the Rutherford Grill, selected this as the location for its second restaurant venture in the valley, “Yountville R & D.” Assembledge+, together with the Minardos Group, builders and The Office of James Burnett, landscape architects were commissioned to create this new ground-up restaurant on a premium site at the entry to downtown Yountville.
Owned by the Hillstone Group, the 1.8-acre site contained a number of existing retail buildings which have been retained and renovated. This required careful placement of the new restaurant structure to anchor this existing complex and at the same time create a destination environment for this fine dining establishment. The site plan places the restaurant at the rear of the site to capitalize on the pastoral views of nearby vineyards and distant mountains and created an elegant “Bosque” of trees as a central outdoor courtyard and tranquil setting for entry to the restaurant as well as an anchor for the town.
The design of the building is derived from the forms and materials common to the many wineries throughout the valley. Wood and stone were used to create a warm and inviting environment with the barrel vaults echoing nearby wineries and bringing to mind the oak barrels common to the wine aging process. Interiors are warm and lush defined by wood ceilings and a palette of rich, dark materials including steel structure, a douglas fir ceiling, and walnut casework along with brick flooring all accented by the natural light filtering from multiple sides. Windows in the dining and outdoor bar areas are designed to disappear using custom painted steel framed operable window systems that pivot or slide, allowing the outdoors to become an integral part of the dining experience.
Meticulously crafted and detailed, Assembledge+ in collaboration with the Hillstone Design Team has created a refined, modern dining environment commensurate with both Hillstone’s reputation for quality and the demands of the surrounding clientele.
Location: Town of Yountville, California
Completion: June 2013
Area: 5,772 sf
Design Team: Assembledge+ | David Thompson, Scott Walter, Gregory Marin
Landscape Architect: The Office of James Burnett
Contractor: The Minardos Group
Photography: Michael Weschler