After dining at one of her favorite restaurants, Darden Restaurants' Seasons 52, Michelle Carter-Scott, mother and business manager for Orlando Magic NBA star Vince Carter, knew she had found the design team for her son's namesake restaurant: Orlando architecture firm Cuhaci & Peterson and interior design firm Schmidt Design Studio. The design brief: a unique restaurant that Daytona Beach, Florida, had never seen before. Says principal interior designer Anna Schmidt: "I remember her saying, 'We want Vegas, baby!'"
But don't think Vince Carter's is packed with memorabilia a la Hard Rock Café. "Vince wanted his outstanding basketball career to only be represented by subtle touches," she says. The Highlight Zone, which is the high-end sports bar, dons a few pieces of basketball art; in the entry, there is a retail space that features some mementos of Carter; and custom painting of the star hangs on a high wall in the main dining room.
Elsewhere, throughout the 11,000-square-foot space, the designers used rich and contrasting dark wood stains, warm colors (raspberry, gold, metal hues), touches of metal (steel copper, and pewter), lots of textures, and clean lines. And there is motion and curves to the design—in the massive hanging features with undulating metal strips to curved details in the carpet pattern. "Our goal was to create a rich, high-class, yet comfortable and approachable atmosphere," Schmidt says. "While the color palette was different than you might expect, all the aspects came together to create a beautiful aesthetic. It really draws you into the space."
Schmidt's favorite room: the VIP dining room. Elliptical in shape, it features an oval ceiling cut out with staggered furrdowns, which guests can see on to the exterior 30-foot high windows, she explains. And the room has a warm glow, thanks to gold and pewter hues, custom blown glass pendants that hang from the ellipse, and a 25-foot custom glove glass chandelier that spirals from the ceiling.
"The restaurant features four inside dining and drinking environments, as well as three exterior patio areas. Each offers a unique guest experience for both traditional and private dining," Schmidt says.