Restraint. Subtle beauty. That’s what’s at play here. You likely didn’t even notice the newly installed glass dividers between the booths at The Ordinary. That’s fine with the architect, David Thompson. He’d rather you remember the service and the tasty oysters. He’s a food guy, too. Whether you knew it or not, you’ve seen his work. At FIG. Or Butcher & Bee. The Daily, The Grocery, or Artisan Meat Share.
Working from a narrow gardener’s cottage on upper Meeting Street, his firm, David Thompson Architect, has been landing some super-high-profile design gigs. (For his own studio, he revamped the early-1900s structure, installed an espresso machine, and moved into the space in January. The smell of paint is still fresh.) Thompson is the architect for two of the biggies at the landmark Cigar Factory: the Garden & Gun offices and the Indigo Road projects, Mercantile & Mash and The Cedar Room (a 9,000-square-foot event space). By this summer, the first of the food and lifestyle tenants at the long-empty East Bay Street building should be up and running. The way he sees it, such projects are a way for his small firm to design for the public. Larger firms may handle libraries or civic centers, but his is concentrating on places where people gather around food. “Eating together is important for families,” he contends, “and for cities.”
He makes sure his family shares meals together every day. Thompson also serves as chair of Lowcountry Local First, and Mayor Riley tapped him to be a member of the city’s Design Review Board. With his wife, Sara (they met in high school and she works part-time at the firm), the Virginia-born architect is raising two daughters aged 5 and 10. They often bring their young daughters with them to restaurants. And guess what? One of the girls just declared dreams of becoming... a chef.