Via Sophia + Society Now Open in DC featuring APP Art Program

A Fiola Mare Alum Opens a Fancy New |All-Day Osteria Downtown

Via Sophia and a hidden cocktail bar will debut in the Hamilton Hotel

by Tierney Plumb
Jun 11, 2019, 1:24pm EDT
Photos by Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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The Hamilton Hotel is ready to unveil the final pieces of its multi-million dollar renovation downtown at the corner of 14th and K Streets NW. An Italian restaurant specializing in Neapolitan pizza and a glamorous, postage stamp-sized bar serving cocktails and caviar are both scheduled to open tomorrow.

Following a full lobby transformation and guest room refresh, the historic 318-room hotel is replacing its outdated 14K restaurant with an all-day osteria called Via Sophia. A dark, library-themed bar called Society is hidden off the lobby.

The anticipated two-part venture is helmed by an all-star hospitality cast that includes Via Sophia executive chef Colin Clark, who’s amassed an impressive East Coast resume by working under several James Beard Award Winners (Marc Vetri, Jeff Michaud, and Fabio Trabocchi). He was also part of Le Diplomate’s opening team in 2013. Most most recently, Clark was chef de cuisine at Trabocchi’s Georgetown Harbor darling, Fiola Mare.

Via Sophia (1001 14th Stree NW) will open with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s also an weekday happy hour for apertivos and a late-night pizza menu. Weekend brunch will join the mix later this summer.

European cutting boards double as wall art near the 10-seat pizza bar overlooking the cooking action.

European cutting boards double as wall art near the 10-seat pizza bar overlooking the cooking action.

In Clark’s new post, he hopes to breathe new life into the same block as The Washington Post’s headquarters overlooking tree-lined Franklin Square.

“We are going for upscale — this is 14th and K and we are trying to make it a dining destination,” Clark tells Eater.

Since wood-fired Neapolitan pizza is Via Sophia’s star attraction, the staff went the extra mile to elevate their pie-making skills. Clark and sous chef Cameron Willis trained under master pizzaiola Roberto Caporuscio, owner of New York City’s Keste Pizza & Vino and Don Antonio (named “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine).

Oak wood fed into the oven to maintain its required 650-degree temperature is stocked across Via Sophia.

Oak wood fed into the oven to maintain its required 650-degree temperature is stocked across Via Sophia.

Five seasonal pizzas at Via Sophia include a classic Margherita — with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil — and Fra Diavlo (salame picante, fresno chiles, red onion, buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes).

Even the staff floating around will be dressed to the nines. Ashley Blazer Biden, Joe Biden’s daughter, designed the hotel’s new stylish black-and-white uniforms in collaboration with Livelihood.

Atlanta-based Art Consulting Firm, Amy Parry Projects, helped curate a custom art collection that weaves old and new elements across Via Sophia. Think nostalgic antique metal pizza peels juxtaposed with modern photography and abstract art pieces.

Italy’s go-to table water San Pellegrino doubles as glowing green wall decor, alongside retro images of women posing along scenic shores.

Italy’s go-to table water San Pellegrino doubles as glowing green wall decor, alongside retro images of women posing along scenic shores.

Clark’s most recent cooking stint at seafood-focused Fiola Mare is evident across its underwater section of dishes. A grilled Norwegian salmon features a traditional Spanish romesco sauce, alongside charred broccolini, pine nuts, and black garlic dressing. A minimalist presentation of black bass, accented with baby squash, asparagus tips, morels, and a golden beet border, lets the fish shine.

DesignONE Studio is behind the look of Via Sophia and Society.

DesignONE Studio is behind the look of Via Sophia and Society.

Southern Italian-inspired dishes include bruschetta built on a house-baked semolina loaf; tagliata di manzo (sliced steak) with charred spring onion, confit cherry tomatoes, balsamic reduction, arugula, and barolo jus; and monkfish ossobuco, with sauce livornese, clams, olives, capers, fennel, and potatoes.

“This is very in line with my background — the whole idea is a balance between rustic and modern,” Clark says. “We knock the rustic element out of the park — it was a decision early on to make bread, pizza, and pasta in house.”

Chicken al mattone (crispy artichokes, guanciale, peppers, maitake mushrooms, chicken jus) is “as old school rustic as it gets” he adds.

Carb-driven entrees include ravioli finochietta, with asparagus tips, fava beans, morels, and fresh parmigiana. Pappardelle comes with rabbit ragu, ramps, pecorino and Castelvetrano olives.

Antipasto orders include caponata-toasted eggplant with San Marzano tomatoes, golden raisins and pine nuts. Meat and cheese boards feature prosciutto di parma aged 24 months.

Wines and spirits hailing from Italy largely make up the drinks section, with some 120 wine bottles available. Local makers from D.C. and Virginia also contribute to the craft beer and spirits selection.

Society, inspired by Prohibition-era secret societies and private clubs from the art deco period, features just 14 seats. Fancy bar snacks include caviar with panna cotta, nuts, and Sicilian olives. Zack Faruki, an alum of Michelin-starred Fiola, is leading a mixology program.

Wines by the glass start at $20, and big spenders can also peruse from a rare collection of reds with a few bottles dancing near the $700 mark.

Seductive details at Society include dark distressed leather, gothic-style candlestick wall sconces, and diamond glass chandeliers.

Seductive details at Society include dark distressed leather, gothic-style candlestick wall sconces, and diamond glass chandeliers.

Society is an ode to renowned French-born architect Jules-Henrí de Sibour, who originally designed the hotel in 1922. The Prohibition-era architect was a member of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society. Framed hand drawings and photos taken from his time at Yale line the walls.

Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 p.m. to midnight; and Thursday through Saturday until 1 a.m.

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First Look | Atlanta Hawk's Owners Club | Chris Maynard

Hawks, 2017, hand-carved feathers, 60.75 x 23 x 2 inches

Hawks, 2017, hand-carved feathers, 60.75 x 23 x 2 inches

Feast you eyes on this image of the first piece of artwork completed for the newly renovated Atlanta Hawk's Owner's Club at Philips Arena. Created by Olympia, WA artist Chris Maynard, the work is made by carving miniature hawks out of actual feathers with a very small scalpel. With a background in biology and a clear passion for this medium, the work is precise and visually arresting.

It is also three-dimensional; by setting them off the background with tiny pins, the pieces create shadows which is integral to the work. This piece, created for the Owner's Club which will open this month, is about flight and ascension, alluding to the drive of the team's athletes toward the goal.

The Owner's Club is designed by Smith Hanes Studio and will also feature work by Atlanta artists Larry Jens Anderson and David Landis. Stay tuned for more images. This is just the beginning of the transformation of the Philips Arena Art Collection.
 

 

To learn more about Chris Maynard and his incredible, beautiful practice, please visit his website:

www.featherfolio.com

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A Conversation with Thomas Bucci

We are excited to share with you a little dialogue we just had with architectural watercolorist Thomas Bucci. APP is working with Thomas to produce several pieces for a luxury hotel project in Washington DC, where he lives and paints in the plein air method. His paintings offer a beautiful reflection of this unique and important American city.

We thank Thomas for his work and his words and encourage you to learn more at www.thomasbucci.com.

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APP: Where were you born and what is your earliest memory of making art?

TB: I was born in a small industrial town in western NJ. The architecture of the old factories and mills still swirls around in my consciousness and affects the way I see buildings, cities and towns.

I started by drawing cartoon characters and people I saw on TV when I was around 9 or 10. I sketched all the players in the Watergate hearings as they were televised live in the early 70s. I was encouraged when people recognized my renditions and complimented me. In some ways you could say Richard Nixon got me started as an artist.


APP: As a trained architect, what are some of your favorite building finishings? Which are your favorite to paint?

TB: I don't love the idea of painting specific buildings per se. I am attracted by the architecture of cities and urban landscapes. The way the buildings collage together to make the fabric of a city or town appeals to me and I try to tell that story in my paintings. 


APP: What brand of paper and paints do you enjoy the most?

TB: This is a constantly evolving thing. Paper is probably the single most important element. Poor quality paper will almost certainly limit the chances of success with a painting. I have recently switched my allegiance from Arches watercolor paper, a venerable French company that has been making paper since the 15th century, to a British made paper, Saunders Waterford, an extremely well made paper.

My favorite paints are from the Daniel Smith Company in Washington state. I also like Kremer Pigments from Germany and Winsor Newton from London.

My favorite brushes are made by Escoda from Spain. I go to great lengths to get their brushes, which have limited availability in the U.S.  Especially the prized Kolinsky sable brushes, which are in the process of being banned for import into the U.S. by the Fish and Wildlife service.

APP: Painting with watercolor allows you to paint anywhere the environment strikes your mood. What are some of your other favorite aspects of the medium and do you fluctuate between tighter and looser techniques?

TB: Watercolor suits certain personality traits. If you want absolute control over your work, watercolor is not for you. It's possible to have total control with watercolor, but that involves very slow and painstaking care. I choose watercolor for its quick gestural quality and spontaneity. You have to be willing to take risks to fully enjoy the potential of watercolor.

My painting approach varies according to my mood and weather conditions. I think I have more control as the years have gone by, as a result of experience and knowledge. For me progress is my about getting the paint to do what I envision. All success in painting has to be the result of envisioning the result first and then making that happen. All else is just luck. So I will still do both tighter and looser paintings, as long as I can produce what I imagine.


APP: Photographers swear by the "golden hour" and timing their process to align with the best natural light. Is this as important in plein air painting? How quickly do you have to work? Do you keep your colors true to life?

TB: One big difference between photography and painting is this; a photographer takes a picture and a painter makes a picture. So because of this I am not bound by light conditions or colors. I like to work on location but what is in front of me is only a suggestion and can become whatever I want it to be. I often move elements around and eliminate or add things to make a composition. I change the weather or time of day to suit me. In one recent painting I moved the Washington Monument about 500 feet to the right to accommodate my composition. So being a painter is almost like having superpowers!


APP: How do you interact with people who pass by while you are working?

TB: Great question! I meet countless numbers of people as I work. I'm often in very public places. I also have downtime while I wait for parts of a painting to dry and this is an opportunity to chat. People often photograph me for blogs, etc. I was even included in a film that was happening where I was set up. The cinematographer asked if they could film me. Mostly I meet curious onlookers, other artists, lots of children. I like to think maybe I might inspire one of those youngsters to someday become a painter! I've heard friends complain that interruptions annoy them when working outdoors. But my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Of course there are episodes that are less pleasant but these are rare.


APP: In which collection are you proudest to be included?

TB: I sell my work mostly at art fairs and at a popular weekly public market in Washington DC. In the 20 years that I have been selling there, I have made over 20,000 sales. Most those are prints, but my work has gotten into lots of people's hands, and this makes me proud. Many people who buy my work do not consider themselves art collectors. I like to think of myself as an artist for everyman. You don't need a degree in art appreciation or a lengthy explanation to appreciate what I'm doing. Having said that, my paintings have found their way into some private art collections and several foreign embassies here in DC as well as U.S. embassies abroad.


APP: If you wrote a love note to Washington DC, what would it say?

TB: Interesting question. I have chosen to live here in DC after living in NYC for a few years and also a stint living in London. In many ways, DC offers what I liked most about London and NYC with few of the drawbacks. I am attracted by DC being a human-scaled city, with an international and highly educated populace. It is a green city with lots of parks and low building heights. You can see the sky! I like sky in my paintings!

Oak Brook Doubletree Meeting Room Art

Amy Parry Projects recently worked with Chicago based design firm Anderson Miller to source an original encaustic painting on panel for the renovated meeting rooms of the Oak Brook, Illinois Doubletree Hotel. This large scale 40"H x 80" W piece was commissioned just for this space and the installed shots show just how key it is to have the right piece of art for your project-it truly is the icing on the cake! 

View of completed meeting rooms at Oak Brook Doubletree with art installed on side wall |  image via Hotel Design Magazine

View of completed meeting rooms at Oak Brook Doubletree with art installed on side wall | image via Hotel Design Magazine

This project is a great example of the collaborative process we enjoy so much here at APP. Once the art selections were made we were able to work with the artist to create a small encaustic sample incorporating the color palette provided by the designer's Pantone colors. The sample was shipped to the designer for review so they were able to feel the finish, examine the surface and colors, and determine what type of edge finish they wanted before moving forward with the full piece.

Encaustic sample and swatches created for designer approval

Encaustic sample and swatches created for designer approval

We are all about relationships and taking customer service to the next level and know that being able to foster collaborative communication between hotels, designers, and artists helps to create the exact art package your project needs. For more info and images on this project check out the full article in Hotel Design Magazine here. Contact us today for more info on how we can work together! 

Art in place during the installation process |  image via Anderson Miller Design

Art in place during the installation process | image via Anderson Miller Design