Loie Fuller Restaurant, Commercial Rehabilitation/Neighborhood Revitalization Award, 1455 Westminster Street, Federal Hill
The Iannotti building, a one-story neoclassical structure at 1455 Westminster Street, was originally constructed as a florists’ shop—so it seems fitting that in its new manifestation, iron vines grow from the building’s windows. Developer Jon Özbek and restaurateur Mike Sears, with help from designer Kyla Coburn of KCD and financial support from Scott LaJoie and Laurel Bowerman of The Washington Trust Company, have transformed the structure into Loie Fuller Restaurant. The building was rehabilitated and renovated for its new use—the extensive project included a complete interior renovation, a new roof, and a new storefront. In keeping with its namesake, a legendary French dancer, Loie Fuller is exciting and vibrant, a fantastic new addition to western Westminster Street. The historic fabric of the building is blended with new Art Nouveau elements to construct a conscious contrast of historic styles. Although the Art Nouveau movement did not begin in Providence, its organic forms and lush colors are perfectly at home on Westminster Street. Detailed murals and ironwork bring European panache, creating an inviting and fun atmosphere inside. Most importantly, that atmosphere can be sensed from the street—neighbors of the restaurant report a marked increase in foot traffic, as well as persistent yummy smells that now waft throughout the neighborhood.