The Silver Lining Diner, USA

January 21, 2020

The Silver Lining Diner is a group project, with interior design headed by Jeffrey Beers International, to restore the 1957 diner to its former glory.

The Silver Lining Diner located on Montauk Highway, framed against the rising sun, has occupied an iconic diner space in Southampton, US since 1957. Jeffrey Beers International, lead architectural firm on the project, explains to darc the history of the diner and hope for the site’s future: “The restaurant was a long standing destination in the community but had lost its appeal. The goal was to bring a fresh, bright and modern take on what people feel a diner should be.”

Route 27 was formerly known as the Sunshine Highway, thanks to its position with regards to the sunrise, and the ‘Silver Lining’ name is a nod to this old moniker as well as, perhaps, the optimism invested in the diner’s rebirth.

The intent was to shape the Silver Lining Diner around the customer, and to imbue it with the ideology of the American Diner: an egalitarian, unpretentious place, where guests can be welcomed at any time, whatever the occasion. This has been fundamental to each aspect of the design. The menu stretches from $10 burgers to $58 steaks, providing something for everyone at every price point, while the drinks menu is adapted to ‘spirited’ and ‘spirit-free’ versions of cocktails so anyone of any age can partake.

In close collaboration with Beers, MT Carney, the co-founder of Plan A, led the re-imagining of the diner’s interior space in addition to its overall identity, both visual and conceptual. Carney tied together the overall design of the space, from the restaurant logo and jumpsuit uniform, to the branded coffee mugs, napkins and customised neon sign above the bar.

This egalitarian philosophy is reflected in the design of the bar’s coffee section, which is shaped like a horseshoe and intended to induce communication and intimacy amongst the diners. This atmosphere is created by the Louis Poulsen Panthella table lamps interspersed across the countertops, provided by Ylighting.

Carney’s concept of utilising a crisp and light palate of sunshine yellow, warm whites, stainless steel, and light hued woods allows the various spaces to feel simultaneously contemporary, light and optimistic, decorative lighting was key in creating the modern diner experience, as Beers explains: “We wanted the decorative lighting to be memorable and tie into the overall look; the booth globe fixtures provide light at the tables but also reflect other design elements on the mirror globe surface.”

There is a marked difference in the choices of decorative lighting and the fixtures themselves: all the decorative lighting has polished stainless steel or a chrome finish, a traditional metal used in diners, while the fixtures were specifically chosen to reflect the modern diner concept.

Beers continues: “The goal was not to over light the space and use the decorative lighting as the main feature, using accent lighting when needed.” Examples of these are the Edendale Angled Semi-flush ceiling fixtures, which adopt a modern, bubbled design, and the understated West Elm mobile ceiling lamp with a handblown, spherical shade and an angled cut opening.

Carney describes her design plan as such: “A diner has always been more than a restaurant; it’s a barometer where a seat at the counter or in a booth has offered a front row view of American life. There is nothing elitist about a diner; it’s a welcoming egalitarian place. We hope to recreate that experience at Silver Lining Diner, making it a staple for the community who live in the Hamptons and those who visit throughout the year.”

Image credit - Max Touhey