Contributing to a Vibrant Community in Oak Park, IL

07/30/10 at 04:31 PM
Oak Park, IL is an upscale suburb of Chicago providing the best of both urban and suburban surroundings. While its close proximity to Chicago allows easy access to the cultural attractions of downtown, Oak Park is an historic and cultural destination in its own right. As one of the leading employers in Oak Park with a staff of 53 people, Aria Group has been located in the Village since its inception in 1989.
 
Although our work spans national and international borders we are proud to be contributors to the vibrant business community in our neighborhood. Some of the projects we’ve worked on in our own back yard include The Perfect Dinner, Cucina Paradiso, Maya Del Sol, Sushi House, Westgate Medical Offices Design Proposal, Barclay’s American Grille and Erik’s Deli. In addition Aria Group has worked with non-profit organizations like The Y and St. Giles Parish, also located in Oak Park.
 
 
Cucina Paradiso
Photographer: Mark Ballogg
 
 
Cucina Paradiso
Aria Group originally designed Cucina Paradiso in 1995. In 2007, a fire outside the restaurant’s rear door (just yards away from Aria Group’s office) spread throughout the kitchen ceiling. The resulting smoke damage ruined the dining room. We were able to help change this unfortunate disaster into an opportunity to breathe new life into an already successful Oak Park establishment.
 
Our updated design features a contemporary urban look and invites pedestrians into the storefront for evening dining with features such as tall, slender vases silhouetted against warm, inviting backlit wall panels. In 2010 we worked with them to design a new outdoor patio perfect for summer dining.  Cucina Paradiso continues to be a favorite neighborhood venue.
 
 
 
 
 
Maya Del Sol
Photographer: Mark Ballogg
 
Maya Del Sol
Margie and Annan Abu-Taleb are former owners of Vivaldi, an Italian restaurant originally on the site of the new Maya Del Sol. On a trip to California they became inspired to return to Oak Park with a new concept developed around Latin Fusion Cuisine.
We designed the new Maya Del Sol to provide a high energy bar, comfortable yet dramatic dining room and flexible party room with a view to an outdoor courtyard. The large, beautifully landscaped outdoor courtyard has a bar and fire pit and is the perfect setting for parties or weddings. The décor is warm and Mayan-inspired with yellow, red and orange colors predominating as well as rustic brick walls. Gus Kostopoulos is the architect of record.
  
 
 
 
Sushi House
Photographer: Mark Ballogg
Sushi House
Bob and Diana Johnson were pleased to open their sixth Sushi House at the beginning of 2008 here in Oak Park. They had approached us with a desire to bring their concept to a higher level of design refinement. Combining traditional Japanese principles of design with a warm, contemporary aesthetic, we created a space that speaks to the purists and welcomes the mainstream.
 
The building consists of three stories at 2,500 SF each. The lower level is an intimate and sleek lounge; the street level hosts the main restaurant with the sushi bar, an elevated tatami dining area, traditional tea rooms, and its own custom-written haiku alongside a 20-ft laser-cut, edge-lit dragon. The third level is an open loft design residence. Sustainability was an important factor leading to the use of natural materials with high-recycled content and/or from easily renewable sources, such as bamboo plywood and flooring, certified lyptus millwork, low-VOC wall coverings, carpeting, and paints.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Westgate Office Design Proposal
Rendering: Aria Group Architects, Inc.
 
 
Westgate Office Design Proposal
The vision of the Westgate project was conceived by Dr. Ivanovic, an Oak Park resident. Together with a fine development team that included McShane Construction Corp. and Krueger & Assoc., Aria Group put together a mixed-use design that was sensitive to the historical context of the site while introducing a state-of-the-art medical facility and hotel for Oak Park’s original downtown.
 
Our design included a 97,000 SF medical office center, parking garage and a 111 room boutique hotel with a 14,000 SF banquet/conference center. The hotel project, at the site of the former Colt building, included salvaging the historic Art Deco details of the original structure and re-activating the public breeze way that bisects the plan. Aria Group's design retained the spirit of Oak Park’s Redevelopment Master Plan. Just as important is the fact that the uses proposed in Dr. Ivanovic’s vision bring much needed daytime shoppers to our valued downtown retailers.
 
 
 
 
 
Barclay's American Grille
Photography: Doug Snower
 
Barclay's American Grille
Barclay’s American Grille is a re-concept of the Carlton Hotel’s Philander’s restaurant, themed around the photography of Philander Barclay. The design objective was to maintain references to the Barclay homage while creating a more casual, energetic dining experience. The focus and location of the bar was maintained but the restaurant’s entry was moved adjacent to the hotel entrance, increasing space efficiency and adding dining seats.
 
A masonry bearing wall was opened up to provide views into the bar from along the hotel entry corridor. White walls with new and reused millwork establish a backdrop to the brightly colored custom designed column wall covering surrounding the bar.
The existing bar was reconditioned and a new back bar island designed. Located in the center of the bottle display is an internally illuminated shaft that features Barclay’s photographs and repeats the custom patterns created for the feature columns. New low voltage pendent light fixtures were also added over the bar top.
 
The space features varied seating choices. High top bar tables relate to raised 6 top television booths that are located in the bar area. The perimeter dining areas include 4 top booths, squares and a featured 6 top round that has its own pendant light fixture.
By moving the entrance, Aria Group was able to design an expanded outdoor café. The masonry openings of the building face were re-designed to include large French doors that open the restaurant to the sidewalk café experience. A new awning covers the café and includes integral down-lighting.
 
 
 
 
 
Erik's Deli
Photography Courtesy of Level One Construction 
 
Erik's Deli
When current owner Ajay Bhatia bought Erik’s Deli in 2005, he inherited an Oak Park institution that has been serving the community for the past 27 years. Erik’s has a loyal following, but not surprisingly after 27 years the concept needed updating. Ajay saw Erik’s potential and asked Aria Group to design a space that was new, modern and fresh. The remodel includes new front of the house décor as well as all new kitchen equipment and an exterior façade. The front counter layout has been designed with efficiency in mind. The salad bar, once a stand-alone iconic self serve station, is now incorporated into the front counter and made-to-order salads are served up by the staff daily. The overall feeling is warm, bright and reminiscent of the outdoors.  Even though the popular menu has remained the same, Erik’s feels like a whole new deli, and customer response has been very positive.