Here at UnBeige, we’ve been known to select dining establishments based on their chairs and typefaces, so when the James Beard Foundation announces its annual slate of award nominees, we head straight for the design and graphics categories. A posh swimming pool in Las Vegas (the celebrity chef version of Branson, Missouri) was the setting for yesterday’s announcement of the 2012 contenders, selected by committees of industry professionals in each of the categories. Duking it out for the James Beard Award for outstanding restaurant design (for North American establishments designed or renovated since January 1, 2009) are a trio of Gotham heavyweights: Thomas Schlesser of Design Bureaux for Boulud-on-the-Bowery DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Bentel & Bentel for their overhaul of famed Le Bernardin, and Glen Coben of Glen & Company for the breath of fresh air that is Miguel Sanchez‘s Romera. The restaurant graphics category is also dominated by New Yorkers: graphic gourmand Richard Pandiscio gets a nod for the Americano at Hotel Americano, while Jon Santos of Common Space Studio made the shortlist for the boldly nostalgic brand he cooked up for The Dutch. The left coast avoided a shut-out thanks to Clive Piercy, who keeps it cool at Air Conditioned and is nominated for whipping up tasty graphics for Farmshop in Santa Monica. Winners of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards will be announced on May 7 at a Lincoln Center ceremony hosted by Alton Brown. Wear your fanciest clogs!
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