Collecting the Ingredients of Restaurant Design

by Barbara Castiglia2 Min Read

Though he and his business have roots in New York City, Vincent Celano, founder and principal of Celano Design Studio, finds inspiration in the culture and spirit of Miami and incorporates those elements into his restaurant designs.

“Miami and South Florida have become a testing ground for restaurants,” he told MRM magazine. “They can tap into the energy before going national and there’s space, more landscape to discover how a food concept might translate up north.”

Vincent Celano
Vincent Celano

After graduating from Pratt Institute with a degree in architecture, Celano headed design and management of projects for Rockwell Group, Jeffrey Beers International, and ICRAVE, among others before branching out on his own in 2013. The studio advises on a host of services including design, architecture, branding and graphics for a roster of hotel, nightclub, restaurant and bar clients such as W Hotels and Resorts, Rosa Mexicano, Mohegan Sun and Mercadito Hospitality. 

The design industry is not just picking colors, but understanding the flow of business and choreographing an experience.

Projects Celano and his team have designed include:

  • Pisco Y Nazca, Miami
  • Bulla Gastropubs, Miami
  • Coconut Grove’s Glass & Vine,
  • Buddy V’s Ristorante, Las Vegas, and Bethlehem, PA 

  • The Hamilton, Allentown, PA 

  • Cockscomb, San Francisco
  • Duke University West Campus Union, Durham, NC
  • Rock & Reilly’s, New York, NY

“I’ve always been influenced by the architecture of South Florida, it’s very playful and vibrant,” he said. “The neighborhoods are constantly reinventing themselves, while maintaining the same bones. Coconut Grove has an amazing background and Brickell is reemerging, but they always have the same roots. There’s rich history and an intriguing story behind these areas.”

Staying true to his professional motto, “do not fall in love with the idea, fall in love with the process,” Celano aims to blend style with function throughout the design process.

Rock & Reilly's
Rock & Reilly's

“When you’re designing a restaurant there are a lot of parts that need to come together,” he said. “Our place is finding what will work. If it works, they don’t always tell you, but if it doesn’t … "

Celano places a high premium on the collaborative process with his staff and his clients.

“We’re pretty selective with our partnerships. We make sure we’re the right fit. I’d say 90 percent of our current clients are also good friends. It’s important that we listen and when the conversation is over we collect the ingredients and discover what we can do. Every project and process is different and no two clients are the same. My biggest challenge is being open and collaborative and finding people who truly know that the design industry is not just picking colors, but understanding the flow of business and choreographing an experience.”

Glass & Vine
Glass & Vine

Barbara Castiglia, Executive Editor

@bcastiglia44 | Website | Email

Barbara Castiglia is Executive Editor for Modern Restaurant Management.

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