BARDAVID, The University of Chicago


Chicago, Illinois


BARDAVID is an upscale wine bar and restaurant located on the ground level of the David Rubenstein Forum at the University of Chicago.

The focal point of the design of the space is the cloud of ceiling lights that threads through the slatted wood ceiling and that delineates the restaurant’s three main sections of seating. This mathematically complex installation used a parametric script to define the density and heights of the lights for maximum visual impact and to respond to the site conditions.

The cloud of lights, shelves, screens, drapes and other vertical elements carefully thread through ceiling plane to counter the reality of the compressed height and long floor plan. We divided the space into three main sections – a flexible and open front area that can accommodate various seating configurations, a middle zone defined by two types of banquettes for more intimate dining, and a back area close to the fireplace with the ability to close off with heavy drapes for a private dining experience.

The simple, rich and natural material palette provides a sense of warmth within the context of this contemporary building. The entire wall facing the windows is treated as a feature - painted a deep indigo that compliments the warm walnut detailing and brass accents throughout the space. The bar features a classic Calacata Gold Premium marble countertop with a series of pendant lights radiating soft shadows that reinforce the striation throughout the space.

Project Type



1,700 square feet


Norcon, Inc.


Primera, MEPFP
Cini-Little, Kitchen Equipment
Polymath, Lighting


2022 AIA Chicago Design Excellence Award, Interior Architecture Small – Honor Award


Ponchione, Alissa, Will Speros, and Jennifer Young. “11 Beautiful Restaurants From Around the World.” Hospitality Design Magazine, April 2022.


Christopher Barrett