Arcsine is an architecture and interior design firm that creates innovative and dynamic spaces within hospitality, restaurant, and workplace environments. We believe that good design brings people together, fosters relationships, and inspires creativity through the enhancement of our surroundings. Our goal is to provide compelling design, technical expertise, and a collaborative environment that exceeds the client’s vision.



The engine of Oakland’s downtown renaissance is its deeply innovative dining and cocktail landscape.  Concentrated along 19th Street in the city’s Uptown district, this tight-knit community of craft bars, cafes, restaurants, and music venues has been hard hit as civic life ground to a halt in March.  With several former and current clients mired in this dilemma, we saw in this brief an opportunity to reexamine the role and responsibility of a hospitality design firm in these times.  Over sketches and video calls, our friends shared their hopes and goals for adapting and thriving amid fluid pandemic-related use restrictions.

If imposing more barriers contradicted the basic tenet of hospitality, we reimagined 19th Street as a Commons — an open-air food and social destination, where locals can emerge from isolation and reconnect with familiar friends in new contexts.

To extend hospitality into the open city, the proposal repurposes excess traffic and parking lanes with myriad opportunities to connect over food.  A series of intimately scaled and approachable architectural activations link established venues, and more importantly, their kitchens and staff, with satellite facilities literally at their doorstep.  The modest hardscape interventions enabling operators to offer new service models by means of flexible dining and service areas beyond brick and mortar while sidestepping occupancy limits and at the same time offer reasonable distances for restaurant runners and service workers.

Communal street-side kiosks and coffee carts are equipped to serve both pull-up and walk-up patrons, preserving valuable interior space for reservation dining.  Other interventions on an adjacent surface parking support pop-up specialties and farm-to-bicycle basket drop off locations.  Kiosks housing bicycle valets and community ambassadors greet patrons along the sidewalk.  Wayfinding graphics and repositionable modular seating offer visual and ergonomic cues to make social distancing intuitive.

Footnotes/ Image description:

Slide 1: 19th Street Overall Aerial Perspective
Slide 2: Axonometric Single Block Diagram
Slide 3: Communal Street-side Kiosk Axonometric
Slide 4: Street Level Perspectivelide
5: Street Level Perspective at Kiosk