SIXTH + MILL PIZZERIA
Sixth + Mill pizzeria and bar is a contemporary pizzeria, set within the confines of a beautiful 1920's masonry and steel warehouse located within the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles along 6th street. The project is an adaptive reuse of the original warehouse which once housed the Los Angeles Gas Company. The pizzeria, which fronts 6th street where it intersects with Mill St, hence the name Sixth + Mill, is focused around fresh natural ingredients cooked in an authentic southern Italian wood burning tradition.
The design intent was to capture this contrast of an old-world tradition set against a new, fresh, white, open kitchen within the architectural experience. To do this, we played a bit with the ideas of what is old and new. First we created a bright white clean contemporary pizzeria style kitchen using enlarged traditional white subway tiles, reminiscent of many Italian pizzerias, an important element for the chef! This, along with selected Italian white marble and stainless steel kitchen appliances, the kitchen took form as a fresh, bright, clean new space. Next, insert this kitchen idea into the historic existing brick and steel truss warehouse space, with its exposed brick walls, tall factory windows along 6th street, open warehouse trussed ceiling and upper factory window skylight and the contrast takes shape. From here, the design team (client, chef, FER, etc.) all agreed that is was really important to respect and celebrate the existing height of the interior warehouse space. Putting a standard solid white ceiling over the new bright white kitchen would substantially reduce its height experience and disengage the kitchen architecturally from the volume of space overhead. In an effort to resolve this situation, we alternated our initial premise and decide to develop a protective ceiling lid that would create a transitional experience between old and new. Playing off the existing steel warehouse trusses, we created a new offset horizontal steel framed grid, infilled with transparent acrylic panels that allow visible connection to the 40’ high warehouse skylight above, a sort of glass ceiling if you will. It was with this move that the design experience shifted. There is this strong experiential sense of a contrast between the white contemporary kitchen, set within the old warehouse. At the same time one also feel’s a sort of connection, almost a bridge, linking and merging old and new, as they blend together in a sort of celebration of a truly crafted and authentic cooking tradition.
Overall the space has a wonderful flavor of having a foot in two worlds, one acknowledging and preserving the beautiful historic traditional warehouse architecture (and a traditional style of cooking) and the other providing a new clean white contemporary architectural kitchen, together they merge at two cross streets – Sixth + Mill.