Tartine Manufactory is now open, revealing a light-filled temple of bread, creativity, and the pursuit of craftmanship. The ambitious project inhabits a 5,000-square-foot space adjacent to the Heath Ceramics factory and showroom, managing to seamlessly weave together new technology with artisanal methods.
After Heath transformed the former commercial laundry facility into a factory and showroom in 2012, it also created a hub for makers, called the Heath Collaborative. It houses artisans like jeweler Liz Oppenheim and Matt Dick of Small Trade Company (who also designed the Manufactory's aprons) in studios and offices on the second floor of the expansive building, creating a community of artisans. It is the perfect fit for Tartine Bakery's Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt, whose focus on growth, learning, and collaboration is paramount. Mainly, the cavernous space is intended as a backdrop for the Manufactory to shine.
The Manufactory's space is divided into several overlapping micro-spaces that include a coffee shop (Coffee Manufactory), ice cream shop (Tartine Cookies and Cream), bakery, and restaurant, all of which share seating. L.A.-based design studio Commune (also responsible for Heath's sleek design) and SF architect Charles Hemminger (Cala, State Bird Provisions) worked to create both a functional workspace, and handcrafted hangout. According to Commune, inspirations ranged from Alpine lodges to Danish cafes to Japanese teahouses.
Unglazed subway tiles from Heath are mixed in with rough, white-painted plaster, wood reclaimed from the building, white marble, oiled Douglas fir, and a ceiling filled with Noguchi paper lanterns. The majority of the craftsmanship is from California, including the tables, millwork, and custom pendant lighting inspired by the art of SF artist Ruth Asawa. The walls are devoid of art, with the exception of a large watercolor by local artist Serena Mitnick-Miller. Huge factory windows reach to the ceiling, while skylights fill the space with diffused light; the giant glass-paned bank of windows at the Alabama Street entrance doubles as a loading dock, sliding open for bread pick-ups and deliveries.
While multi-faceted, the space and concept are intended to allow diners and voyeurs to be part of the experience of making, including large windows into the dough room and an open kitchen, as well as the enormous Heuft oven that sits in the center of the room. Director of operations Vinny Eng puts it this way: "Part of the experience and part of the joy that comes with supporting an artisan is seeing the artisan. Part of it in this space is to try to make more of our process open to our guests. What Chad and Liz really wanted to do, and what this space really affords us, is the opportunity to find more ways to humanize the work, more ways for our staff who think and make and touch the food to have more unplanned interactions with people who are literally receiving the products."
The effect is a bustling hive of activity, filled with bakers, chefs, baristas, and other magician-like creators of food and drink. And for diners, it's a choose-your-own-dining-adventure, come to life.
Tartine Manufactory is now open. To start, hours at the coffee shop, and cafe will be 7 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Tartine Cookies and Cream, and dinner service, will be added in the coming weeks. 595 Alabama St. (at 18th Street)