French Restaurant Occitania Debuts in Oakland


Chef Paul Canales has introduced his latest concept, Occitania, in downtown Oakland, California. In line with its menu, the 250-seat restaurant’s interior design by Arcsine draws inspiration from the Occitan linguistic region of southern France, Italy’s alpine Piemonte, and Catalonian Spain. Through a unique exploration of color, iridescence, light, and motion, the restrained design channels the poetry of the European landscapes that serve as its muse.

A sumptuous-yet-restrained color palette recalls golden wheat fields, purple lavender pastures, terracotta tiles, and untamed greenery. Expansive archways frame translucent windows that flood the interior with natural light, particularly upon arrival, where work from local artist Ramona Downey instills a sense of place. A sculptural brass bar serves as a key focal point along with boxes sculpted into the backbar, reminiscent of hillside landscapes sprawling with homes. Some of the backlit boxes showcase bone-inspired sculptures by local ceramic artist Peter St. Lawrence as well.

Beyond the bar, an office mezzanine is disguised by a dramatic curved ceiling cove adorned with river rock-style wallcoverings that form a backdrop for a pair of chef’s table booths. Hexagonal terracotta tiles and textured metallic paint also line the interior, spanning into the private dining grotto that accommodates 24 guests. Bespoke sconces cast interiors in a soft glow, accentuating the gold paint finish on the ceiling above.

“The exceptional location allowed the team to fully harness the concept of light and darkness,” says Arcsine’s cofounding principal Daniel Scovill. “The close collaboration with Paul and the array of truly mesmerizing artists that left their touch on the restaurant create a truly notable space.”

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