The Greek street food restaurant, DOX, is located in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park. The owners’ desire was to move away from the clichés surrounding Greek food and to introduce the local urban population to an authentic sense of the Mediterranean country.
The initial design inspiration for DOX – δοξα (doxa) in Greek, “glory” — was the “unfolding” of the layout of the traditional kiosks – περιπτερα (periptera) — which are found in town squares and on street corners throughout Greece. This was a challenge because Wicker Park is a protected urban area. No changes were allowed to be made to the exterior façade other than to enlarge the street side window. Inside, the restaurant’s program had to be adapted to the existing layout.
Upon arrival patrons enter a buffer zone that separates the open kitchen from the public spaces. DOX caters for take-out as well as eat-in diners. Timber-clad, bleacher-style seating provides take-out customers with a stylish and comfortable place to wait for their orders whilst those who stay can take advantage of a variety of seating within the dining area. Amphitheatrically placed, the chairs and tables reduce in height from the interior towards the front windows. Not only is every diner able to enjoy the ever-changing theatre of the street, but passersby can enjoy an enticing view of the entire restaurant in just a glance.
k-studio sought to recreate the warming, brightening effect of Greece’s ample sunlight. A double grid structure on the ceiling gives a sense of being seated beneath an updated traditional pergola, the linen coverings adding texture, depth and acoustic absorption. The design incorporates sidewalk-style lamps installed geometrically at the junctions of the grid. The walls are finished with a rough textured cement and in the buffer zone, panels of narrow, triangulated timber slats are installed within the white-painted timber framework. Open compartments within the structure are used for storage and display.
A palette of natural materials – wood joinery and carpentry, wicker-woven seats, rope-hung lights, copper pots and stone mosaic flooring – give a strong aesthetic to the space and evoke a culture of artisan craft. The façade is painted in the Mediterranean summer sky blue of the DOX logo and the seating is a mix of traditional Greek kafeneion chairs, bistro-style stools and American-style benches featuring denim cushions. All of the furniture is custom designed and made by k-studio.
DOX is a carefully curated mixture of old and new Greek and Chicago; urban and casual; rough and clean-cut, a perfect blend that fits the Mediterranean theme of the restaurant and the city in which it is located.