Drummond Projects designs Afro-futurist sci-fi dining concept, Bronze

East Coast Eats

For the design of Bronze, a moody, futuristic eatery in D.C., local firm Drummond Projects began with a sci-fi story. “Chef Keem Hughley’s menu is a nod to a fictional character, Alonzo Bronze, a Black 14th-century visionary and traveler,” explained principal designer Jimmie Drummond. “We asked, how can the design inspire a reimagined embodied cultural memory for the future?” The result is an immersive spatial expression of an Afro-futurist culinary experience—one that transports diners to a fantastical and richly textured world.

Curvilinear cutouts offer a sense of welcome in the futuristic space (Arseni Khamzin)

In the booth, leopard print upholstery covers the seating where it stands richly against the black brick and moody atmosphere, one of the few instances in which utopian African luxury appears in the built environment (Arseni Khamzi)

Just as Bronze’s menu reconceptualizes Afro-fare in a way that looks forward to a bright future, the design of the 6,800-square-foot space amalgamates historical elements and cultural references in a way that feels novel and fresh. Leopard-print upholstered booth seating and African motifs on walls and tiles (like the grey crowned crane) nod to the African diaspora. Meanwhile, modern furnishings and finishes, including Valchromat, a fibrous wood product with a velvety and stone-like finish, bring the space squarely into the present.

Walls act as a site for rich patterns and motifs of the diaspora (Arseni Khamzin)

References to the continent’s nature are etched onto the wall while the floors depict hexagonal tiles (Arseni Khamzin)

Color and mood shift between each level of the three-floor eatery, capturing the journey and diversity of the culture and community (Arseni Khamzin)

“I think people today are compelled by immersive, unique experiences,” said Drummond. “More than a restaurant, Bronze invites guests to adventure with gastronomy and architecture. It sparks contemplative narratives about food, design, history, and culture.”