American Institute of Architects/East Bay Chapter Citation for Interiors
An arson fire ravaged Fentons Creamery, a thriving community anchor and East Bay institution for over 100 years. The design effort was two-fold: recreate the charm of the classic Ice Cream and Soda Fountain, and update safety and manufacturing elements. Building, seismic, fire, and disabled access requirements had changed dramatically since Fentons opened; a manufactured “historic look” would not suffice. The circulation had to handle high customer volume while displaying the Fentons story and creamery and restaurant processes.
The design streamlined ice-cream production and restaurant operations, making them visible to customers. An event and party room expanded dining capacity. The front entryway was opened to exterior seating, contributing to the vitality of pedestrian traffic on Piedmont Avenue. The meandering path of travel is expressed in the curved ice cream counter. Traditional elements—wainscoting, tile, and ceiling patterns—evoke the traditional soda fountain within a working ice creamery and restaurant.