Newsletter | Jul/Aug 2002

May Meeting: "Ono Maz" Restaurant
by Marites Abueg

Are you craving a sublime dining experience? Searching for a sensory-filled feast of lush colors and glorious aromas? Ono Maz in downtown Walnut Creek offers all that! And I haven't even begun to describe the food!

OWA members enjoyed fabulous food and a tour of Marian Ring's latest design, "Ono Maz" (which means delicious mix in Hawaiian), a pan-Asian restaurant located at 1616 N. Main Street. Ono Maz is an elegant and stylish showcase of environmentally friendly building materials and a demonstration of Marian's strong design philosophy. She credits much of her current thinking to CWED (California Women in Environmental Design), an organization that championed principles of socially conscious and environmentally friendly design. Marian says, "Through CWED, I came to understand the concept of Design = Leadership, that is that every decision we make (or don't make) impacts our environment. There's no getting around the fact that we are all connected &endash; to each other and to our planet."

The 80 seat restaurant features "green" building products at every turn, natural cork flooring, bamboo plywood cabinetry, recycled glass countertops and sisal and grass cloth wall coverings. She also custom designed the bamboo tabletops. Marian described these products as "Bio-Nutrients" or "products that are designed to return to the biological cycle". In keeping with a less resource-intensive design philosophy, Marian used locally produced products such as the recycled glass countertops made by a west Berkeley-based company called Counter/Production and the hand blown glass shades made by Berkeley-based "Kindabugsya".

She also shared many of her restaurant design "secrets" such as shaping space through curves (turning a leftover corner into a prized table) and using strong textures on large wall areas, thereby limiting the need for expensive artwork. Instead, she intentionally creates distinct spaces for artwork that resonate with the project's design.

Finally, Marian pointed to the highlighted alcove at Ono Maz's entry. It features the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, Pele, who symbolizes fiery creation and destruction. Marian tells us, "She represents volcanic action and the cycle of life. I hope that I've created a space which honors that cycle."