The history of a place – the stories and artifacts that tie past to present – can give it meaning and value. Preserving the history of space while making modern improvements can be a challenge. This is especially true in the world of restaurant design.
Even the most beloved, long-standing restaurants may need a refresh after years of existence, yet there is a delicate balance that needs to be struck to preserve the identity of a space and give it the breath of fresh air it may need. Bergmeyer was invited to partner with longtime collaborator, Restaurant Associates, to redesign a full-service restaurant and refresh an organic quick-service concept in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens, one of the premier horticultural gardens in the United States. Together the team created a fresh look for the restaurant, 1906, and its quick-serve outlet, The Café, that brought the cultural institution’s dining facilities into a new era without relinquishing its historic character.
One of the project’s primary goals was to appeal to a broader demographic. With that in mind, 1906 was transformed into a light and airy dining environment. To complement the chef’s fresh and locally sourced fare, our team designed an elegantly minimalistic space with soft lighting and lush greenery thoughtfully placed throughout. Verdant crushed-velvet banquets sit at the center, evoking both the richness of the surrounding Gardens and the intimacy of a private dining nook. A custom herringbone tile floor mirrors the estate’s grand Ballroom, an anchor of the Gardens’ campus.
Located in the Kennett Square Historic District, the estate’s Colonial architectural style was also factored into the design and aesthetic of the dining spaces. Showcasing the history of the gardens, our team worked with Longwood’s archivist to select black and white photographs that are hung throughout the dining room.
1906 at Longwood Gardens displays a modern take on its original program and demonstrates how the seamless blending of old and new can yield a richer restaurant experience.