For Chef Jay Swift, having dinner with friends is as good as it gets. As he laid plans for a restaurant of his own, this passion for hospitality rivaled his love of food as a central element of his vision. He wanted to establish a connection with guests, a desire that depended as much on the quality of the space itself as on the food served. For that, he turned to ai3.
Located in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward neighborhood, the building that would become 4th & Swift began as the engine room of Southern Dairies. An integral part of the neighborhood landscape and history, the space had connections of its own. Rather than risk alteration of the structure, ai3 developed a plan that would create a space within a space. The resulting design is a study in harmony. In this uniquely industrial shell, the past and present are nested together with skillful balance. Exposed brick, concrete and steel beams mingle seamlessly with warm woods, glass and rich contemporary fabrics. Engaging and refined, 4th & Swift is precisely the upscale neighborhood spot that Swift had requested.
Perhaps the most striking element of the design is a series of industrial-inspired installations that serve as the backdrop of the bar. Six large L-shaped structures come together to lend cover and serving space for the bar. A dramatic setting indeed, they also work to delineate the space into distinct experiences, one of which is a series of small “date-booths” nestled in the spaces between the installations. A series of area rugs connect the booths with the main dining tables, creating intimacy in the voluminous space.
Banquette seating forms a soft perimeter around the dining room where rich fabrics mingle with original exposed-brick walls of the building. To the far end of the dining room, a large glass wall invites views of the kitchen, allowing Swift and his staff to connect visually with guests.