About this project

Project: Cranes
Opening Date: February 8th, 2020
Address: 724 9th Street NW
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown
Total Square Footage: 11,000 square-feet
Seat Count: 283 seats

Design Narrative:
Located in the D.C. Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood, Cranes is the collaborative brainchild of internationally renowned Chef Pepe Moncayo and multidisciplinary architecture and design firm //3877. A restaurant and sake lounge that explores the intersection of Spanish and Japanese cuisines, D.C.-based  //3877 was tasked with conceptualizing this new restaurant on-par with Chef Pepe’s international prestige.

Inspired by the compositional beauty and color of Pepe’s culinary creations, as well as the chef’s Spanish and Japanese influences, the 11,000-square-foot restaurant’s design is defined by its understated yet warm materiality, dark textures, polished metals, dramatic lighting, and sweeping architectural features that double as art installations and wayfinding. Favoring a Japanese aesthetic—also a nod to the restaurant’s namesake—//3877 created mini ‘vignettes’ within Cranes as the backdrop for a variety of culinary experiences as patrons move through the space: from the vestibule entry, past the bar and sake lounge, and into the main dining, open kitchen, and private dining areas.

Strong architectural elements are celebrated in the ceiling panels, where vertical and horizontal beams combine with up-lit acoustical panels to emulate origami. Curated by Faulkner & Locke and manufactured by Transformit, these features visually guide guests through the restaurant. The predominant color story, defined by warm and textured wood tones, copper accents, and deep green details, creates a visually grounding aesthetic. Similarly, down-lighting is used to maximize the ‘shadow play’ and elevate the drama of the moody atmosphere, creating intimate moments within each area.

The Japanese aesthetic continues with the art selection, where the minimalist curation accentuates the dramatic architectural elements; at the bar, glass cranes by artists Kevin Chambers and Gina Words float above the bar top. Similarly, the copper slatting behind the bar doubles as an art installation, as do the decorative Sake bottles, which are displayed alongside descriptions referencing their historical and cultural significance. The uplit Satori plaster feature wall frames the expo kitchen—a design detail that accents the locally sourced fumed walnut walls and oak floors. Custom furniture by Mandy Li Collection accentuates the smooth, subtle lines created throughout the rest of the space, with jewel-toned fabrics and delicate patterns adding femininity.