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FAO Projects

Café Mars

A whimsical aesthetic supports fine dining at this Gowanus restaurant.


Set in a former pasta factory and grocery in Brooklyn, NY, this “unusual Italian” restaurant was designed with an eccentric combination of influences, hues, and textures in mind, drawing inspiration from the avant-garde designs of Memphis Milano to the sun-kissed palette of the Amalfi Coast. Chefs Paul D’Avino and Jorge Olarte's vision for this restaurant was to create a culinary experience that simultaneously honors and reimagines the traditional Italian trattoria - balancing the familiar with the unexpected.

A slender oak clad bar acts as a spine that draws visitors into the space, while dividing and organizing distinct cooking and dining zones. Within the bar, arched portals invite a glimpse of the all-electric kitchen. A row of booths hugs the opposite wall and aligns with a series of backlit niches that reveal a glimpse into the building’s past. Beyond the rear archway, a continuous blue bench and exposed brick add texture to a private group dining area.


Architecture,  Design


Brooklyn, NY


Café Mars


construction 2023


Restaurant, Commercial


Department of Approvals  —  MEP Engineering
Blue Sky Design  —  Structural Engineering
Rusk  —  Construction Management
Chairs  —  Studio Apotroes
Photography  —  Nick Glimenakis
Tables  —  Todd Higuchi
Signage  —  Massimo Mongiardo
Art  —  Leroy's Place