Rialto Restaurant and Bar

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The concept for Rialto employs unfolding spatial sequences layered with moments of repose and intimacy. At the restaurant’s entrance, a corridor of mosaic tile defines a pathway which guides one’s passage through the L-shaped lounge into the dining room. Sheer curtains hang at intervals throughout the sequence providing moments of intimacy and shifts in scale without disrupting sightlines or rigidly enclosing the space. Light is layered and filtered. At the onyx-topped bar, light filters through the stone surface to illuminate the wait staff from below, elevating the simple activity of drink preparation and service into a performance. The arrangement of circular banquettes in the dining room alternatively reveals and conceals views of other tables, providing intimacy and enclosure or a vantage point from which patrons can watch other diners. The palette of natural materials such as onyx, quartz, mahogany, mohair, and suede creates delicate and complementary relationships as they play off one another. Esquire magazine described the restaurant as “one of the most romantic restaurants in the country.”