The task of redesigning an iconic restaurant was a daunting and exhilarating task. Having freedom and full control of all the design aspects to this historic restaurant is what every designer wishes. The Original Rex’s Chicken opened in 1975 and quickly became a landmark, many people around northeast Oklahoma grew up with a Rex’s Chicken in their hometown.
The owner and 1Architecture wanted the redesign to remain true to the original 1950’s gas station diner look, but with a modern twist. The design needed to be iconic and the atmosphere needed to be light and friendly. Rex’s Chicken will again be a destination.
The original colors of the Rex’s Chicken logo were made a little brighter and materials were carefully selected to bring balance and lightness to the interior and provide an exclamation from the exterior. The bright red metal canopy was conceived as the marquee feature that would provide the emblematic exclamation: projection out from the building. Large glass windows reveal the interior and the wood soffit underneath the canopy draw the eye inside the building.
Inside, the windows draw in natural daylight which brings lightness and energy into the space. The wood elements define the interior space to create a dining experience that is intimate and social. The space offers transparency throughout, allowing the experience and food to take center stage. The exposed systems and existing concrete is balanced with a mix of traditional and contemporary furniture and cedar wood elements to create a refined, warm palette.
A radial cedar trellis suspended over the order counter adds character and texture while drawing the customer into the space. A wood framed wire mesh system separates the two dining zones and adds a sense of privacy between them. The two large sliding wood doors allow the secondary space to become more private during events. Newly designed graphics on the walls and splashes of color throughout the restaurant add personality and layers.
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