RECENTLY AUTHOR SALMAN RUSHDIE, an émigré from Bombay, India, now on his “third continent,” was on the radio to promote his latest book, Quichotte, and said that you know a place is home when you love it. “I can completely see myself in the Bay Area. That would work for me.”
To which I’d add that home is also a place whose roots you can graft onto and make your own. That’s what happened to me when I left Bombay for San Francisco 40 years ago. In time, the Bay Area’s idiosyncrasies and my shared history with the area became muscle memory, another form of “roots.” I grew to “know” the Bay Area, not just love it, and I could navigate it easily.
Perhaps that’s what Sausalito designer Charles de Lisle is referring to in our “Space Makers” podcast, excerpted in this issue. He suggests that when muscle memory kicks in, looking for the right color, tracking down products and knowing the environment become instinctive. When that happens, a designer can “focus on the part that makes a design special,” he says. Roots are the recurring theme in this issue. A 50-year old Napa winery now has a modern version of itself in the Alexander Valley. Different to look at but with a deep sense of sustainability that is the winery’s hallmark, it is designed by Piechota Architecture, whose work appears for the first time in SPACES. In Noe Valley, San Francisco design firm Síol Studios and architect Ross Levy transformed a dark Craftsman-style cottage into a light-filled modern space for a young family — without fully obliterating the original. Architect Chris Dorman, designer of the new Watershed restaurant in Mill Valley, built himself a new hillside home in Tamalpais Valley that showcases space-enhancing tricks he gleaned from architects Adolf Loos, Frank Lloyd Wright and other “mentors.” In the East Bay, architect Chad DeWitt uncovered a forgotten 1950s masterpiece and gave it new life, and south of San Jose, for a retired San Francisco couple, Aidlin Darling Design created a gorgeous modern retreat that respects the land and trees — humankind’s first home, if you will.
In our Tableside column, read about Palette, a new San Francisco dining hot spot that opened in place of a very old one. Our highlighted Maker is Rafael Arano, a young artist who became one of Ken Fulk’s star muralists, working with ancient techniques. In Voices we learn how Catherine Bailey invigorated Sausalito ceramics factory Heath, now over 60. In Focus, find the art of Burning Man, now approaching 50. In Rear Window, see how the history of San Francisco’s finger piers affected the growth of the Exploratorium — also 50. On the Rise shines a light on how obsolete structures are being revived as multi-experiential spaces, a legacy of 1960s communalism. In Landing we take you to blissful Lake Orta, Italy, on whose shores Fantini, the award-winning faucet manufacturer, has just created a state-of-the-art resort right next to its 70-year-old factory where the company took root. I hope these flashbacks also take you into the future.