Fun Palace opens at Newport Beach

Friday 24th February, 2017
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Newport Beach is known as one of the largest up-market shopping destinations in the United States. It was a perfect location for Master Chef Rick Bayless to open a flag ship for his modern Mexican cuisine style restaurant, Red O. The 9000sq ft eatery was custom-built for the sole purpose of fun. "I designed the entry to include a tequila temple: a structure tented and vaulted reaching 14ft. high with walls of limestone niches, reminiscent of a Turkish palace, housing the rarest and most exotic tequilas in the world" says project designer, Martyn Lawrence Bullard. This space opens up to the main bar, clad in textured leather panels above Mexican tiles. "I mixed in custom designed lanterns from Morocco" continues Martyn "and designed a vast Chandelier centred above the bar hung with a hundred hand blown glass Hundi lanterns.

"The main dining room design was inspired from San Miguel, an ancient town in Mexico where the aristocrats from Mexico City built their summer villas in the 19th century. The wall tiles were custom- designed by myself with Ann Sacks. I added distressed mirror paneling to create sparkle and romance at night. The main ceiling was covered in ottoman style lanterns with pierced brass work bases that throw delicate shadows across the room at night. I designed a central banquet to incorporate a vast planter where exotic palms and tropical orchids could be planted to create life and flow into the space, while pierced Jali type screens punctuate the vast windows and add to the light play during the day.

"The terrace has a retractable ceiling and was clad in concrete tiles, custom-designed and inspired from patterns in the Alhambra palace. Panels of sheer drapery add romance and create areas of privacy for diners, whilst a vast tile clad fireplace creates a cozy atmosphere in the winter months or chilly evenings. Chef Bayless prides himself on his delicate flavours and spices that infuse his cuisine like no other in this field. The design too I spiced up to match his ethos and created a restaurant that has many different areas to enjoy, whilst feeling rich, exotic and inviting".