Architecture | Hospitality and Residential |

Single Thread

Single Thread Farms, Healdsburg, CA | 2016

Named Eater’s “Single Biggest Opening of 2016,” and Best Restaurant Design 75 Seats and Under at the James Beard Awards in Chicago, Single Thread is a hybrid restaurant-farm-inn concept offers guests a tailored, highly personal experience that is meticulously crafted from beginning to end. Like their locally sourced menu, the lighting showcase the region’s offerings.

What it Was

Named Eater’s “Single Biggest Opening of 2016,” and Best Restaurant Design 75 Seats and Under at the James Beard Awards in Chicago, Single Thread is a fresh take on hospitality. Based on the Japanese notion of omotenashi—the “art of selfless hospitality”—this hybrid restaurant-farm-inn concept offers guests a tailored, highly personal experience that is meticulously crafted from beginning to end. Headed by husband-and-wife team Kyle (the chef) and Katina (the farmer) Connaughton, this intricate project engaged a unique team of artisans and designers to craft a singular, seamless guest experience.

What We Did

Like Single Thread’s locally sourced menu, its interiors showcase the region’s offerings. Lightswitch San Francisco was part of a design team that included California artisans and interior design firm AvroKO San Francisco. Together, we worked alongside the Connaughtons to design a dining experience unlike any other. After enjoying cocktails on the rooftop terrace at arrival, guests are escorted to the 55-seat dining room for an 11-course meal that lasts roughly four hours, where the lighting leads them on their journey. The lighting places high quality light onto the tables and the food and preparations being presented, allowing them their rightful place as the centerpiece of the event. However in order to capture the full experience, , lighting gently shifts throughout the evening to reveal different aspects of the food and dining environment. It begins with subtle illumination of the kitchen and dining room that allows diners to become audience to the culinary show taking place in the open kitchen. As service progresses, the lighting shifts to show details of the tableware, art and décor, most of which was custom-designed and handcrafted for the space. At the end of the evening, the kitchen doors close and light levels lower to create warmth, intimacy and quiet drama in the dining room.

Why It Worked

Single Thread offers guests more than just a meal. It’s an immersive experience that plays out like a production. Our unique perspective as both architectural and theatrical lighting designers enabled us to tell the story of this exceptional concept. As the guests move through the experience, like actors onstage, the lighting moves with them, revealing new layers of the story in each act—from the cooks’ culinary choreography to the decorative fabric screens that envelope the dining room, each one which is woven with the DNA patterns of a different seasonal vegetable.