Design, Bitches creates eclectic LA restaurant filled with retro video games

LA studio Design, Bitches drew from influences including film noir and Postmodernism for its design of a combined Asian-fusion restaurant and video arcade, called Button Mash (+ slideshow).

Button Mash by Design Bitches

The restaurant and "barcade" is located in a strip mall along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, a densely populated neighbourhood in central Los Angeles. It offers Asian-fusion cuisine and various types of wine and beer.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

Encompassing 4,000 square feet (370 square metres), the restaurant occupies a space with concrete flooring and high ceilings.

The design deliberately brings together numerous styles and references, including Postmodernism and film noir.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

"The design is rooted in multiple LA-centric time periods, with nods to the 1980s and 1990s in material and colour choices, mixed with the local haunt feel resonant in film noir classics like Chinatown," said Design, Bitches.

"These inspirations and influences are intertwined with Postmodern design and pop cultural references to create a timeless experience," the studio added.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

The space is broken into three distinct zones – a dining area, pinball room and video arcade – all of which are connected by a bar.

"The layout is segmented into three distinct areas that are visually interconnected and geometrically interlocking, each with varying seating types that encourage interaction, exchange and shared experiences," said the studio.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

The entryway, described as an "otherworldly tunnel", is sheathed in custom wallpaper by Oregon-based artist Joseph Harmon.

The dining room is lined with large windows overlooking a busy street, and the pinball room features red-painted walls and flooring. Even acoustic panels in the space were painted red.

Plywood banquettes and metal bar stools are upholstered in fabric with bold geometric patterning.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

The arcade offers more than two dozen classic video games, including Tron, Galaga and Donkey Kong.

Suspended above long wooden benches are lighting fixtures by ENO and Chen Karlsson that contain whimsical plastic figurines. A wall of windows and a large oculus enable natural light to enter the linear space.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

The restaurant is meant to attract different types of patrons, according to the designers.

"Button Mash is intended to be an integral and vibrant neighbourhood hub for all ages, with a design that showcases a careful curation of arcade games and stellar creative cuisine," said the firm.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

Design, Bitches was founded in 2012 by Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph. Projects by the studio include the redesign of a house in Venice, California, and a bricks-and-mortar store for Coolhaus Ice Cream.

"We believe architecture can and should be accessible to a broader audience and connected to everyday life," they said.

Button Mash by Design Bitches

LA has seen a burst of design activity in recent years and is one of the most interesting cities in the USA for new architecture, according to some international and local studios.

Other recent projects there include a flagship store for Bally by David Chipperfield, a new automotive mused by Kohn Pedersen Fox and The Broad by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Photography is by Laure Joliet.