Clyde's new Tyson's Corner restaurant has such a surfeit of decorations that diners may feel repleat before they eat.
The new Clyde's, owned by Stuart Davidson and John Laytham, has gone all out -- or far out -- in commissioning contemporary artists. Not content with the splendid artist/artisans who turned out excellent pieces for the new restaurant, the owners recklessly have thrown in a number of antiques from the '90s, '20s and '30s.
John Richards Andrews, the architect, designed a low-lined, horizontal building with a marvelous copper roof -- a rather subliminal reminder about copper cooking pots full of good food. The walls are textured buff Indiana limestone. The front has a deep terrace, or rather the building sits on a platform, a ceremonial base like a temple.
Lester Collins was landscape architect, providing parking for 150 cars in an orchard of flowering a pear and holly trees.
An elaborate glass curve of leaded clear, translucent, opaque and stained glass by Kenneth von Roenn stands at the doorway. Von Roenn also made three other glass corners for the restaurant. The glass corners allude to the sort of glass block corners common in Art Moderne architecture, but the leading and the stained glass give it a softer air more like Art Nouveau.
The revolving front door's swooping lines forming the handle is immediately recognizable as being by Albert Paley, the top metal craftsman/sculptor working today.
Two acrylic tables in the entrance, a 54-inch round to hold flowers, and a podium for the maitre d', were made by Jeffrey Bigelow, a Washington acrylic craftsman/sculptor.
The bar, obviously the ritual center of the establishment, occupies a raised section, the center, the place of honor. The mahogany bar is a 13-by-20-foot rectangle, seating 75, designed by Siegfried Hohenrainer, who executed all the interior woodwork. To the side of the main bar is a smaller one, seating 35. A large railroad painting with, of all things, mother-of-pearl on glass, hangs behind the second bar, to remind refugees from the Georgetown Clyde's of the similar painting there. George Thiewes made the art glass sconces for the bar and in other sections of the restaurant.
The Palm Terrace is the great room (9,360 square feet) of the restaurant, under a 27-foot glass roof. Two tall Florida date palms grow out of the terra-cotta tile floor. There's both a fireplace and a fountain, which seems rather contradictory. The steps up to the table area are guarded by wrought-iron trees and railing by Albert Paley, the New York metal sculptor, who earlier did the "Paley Gates" for the Renwick Gallery's shop. More of Paley's fanciful iron work holds up a pergola. The brick fireplace at one end of the room goes up through the glass ceiling. The Art Deco fountain holds a 1939 terra-cotta sculpture by George Stanley, who designed the Oscar statuette.
Nymphs, nudes and satyrs sport in the 75-foot mural by William Woodward, George Washington University associate professor of painting. The 10-panel mural lines the walls of the main dining room.
Waltercolor sea birds, painted by Robin Hill, fly against the oak paneling by Hohenrainer in the oyster bar. The hand-carved oak furniture is also by Hohenrainer. The copper and brass and ceramic tile raw bar was obviously inspired by the Italian cappuccino machine nearby.
Peter Danko designed a new chair, named "Clyde's," just for the restaurant, in the tradition of the Josef Hoffman Fledermaus chair (now bringing a price in the thousands). Danko's N-chair is used in the Cafe room of the restaurant, to the left of the entrance. The Cafe has an improbable Victorian brass chandelier hanging from the skylight. But the antique posters are by Alphonse Mucha. One wall is the stage for what Clyde's calls "exhibition cooking," such as omelettes and crepes. Viennese cafe chairs are used in some other areas.
In the Grill are leather banquettes, serpentine benches ornamented with onyx and leather covered Danko chairs. Art Deco bronzes by Riviere and Chiparus stand on wall pedestals.
The elaborate two-level kitchen has six cooling boxes. Cini Crissom Associates of Potomac, who also did Windows on the World at New York's World Trade Center, designed the kitchen. An adjacent wine celler has a glass wall which diners see on their way to telephones and the rest rooms.
MRG Construction Company of Alexandria was general contractor.