James Beard Award-winning chef Renee Erickson and partners launched Willmott’s Ghost, which occupies the ground floor of The Spheres, in the fall of 2018. Architecture is by Heliotrope Architects, interior design is by Price Erickson, and construction is by Dovetail. The Spheres are the centerpiece of Amazon’s Seattle campus: glass-enclosed domes containing workplaces and cloud forest conservatories with thousands of flora from throughout the world.
Willmott’s Ghost serves Roman-style pizza al taglio and Italian aperitivo cocktails. A theatre of cooking infuses the atmosphere, with chefs visible in the open kitchen, and the mise en place on full display. One of only three spaces in The Spheres open to the public, the Italian eatery is 1,900 square feet and seats around 50 people. With a three-story jungle above, the restaurant takes its namesake from a thistle-like flower christened in honor of Victorian horticulturalists Ellen Ann Willmott.
Jeremy Price of Price Erickson explains that “We made craft the main ingredient of the restaurant build-out,” which was complicated to construct due to the curved nature of the building and the sophisticated mechanical system above and below the restaurant, which runs The Spheres complex and keeps the plants alive. The faceted glass spherical building did not provide a lot of room to maneuver or load in large gas-fired pizza ovens. “It was like building a ship in a bottle,” says Mike Mora, principal at Heliotrope Architects.
Architects: Heliotrope Architects
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Category: Interior Design
Area: 1900.0 ft2
Project Year: 2018
Photographs: Aaron Leitz, Kevin Scott
Manufacturers: Oluce, Naoto Fukasawa, Dassault Systèmes, Ann Sacks, Autodesk, Lee Broom
Interior Design: Price Erickson
Contractor: Dovetail General Contractors
Clients: Willmott’s Ghost