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Stunning Design and Innovative Functionality

MANICA Architecture

David Manica combines stunning design and innovative functionality to create some of the most iconic facilities in the world with his company, MANICA Architecture. With almost 30 years of designing expansive public assembly facilities, David’s experience spans all phases of project development in high profile stadium, arena and convention projects across the globe.

David was awarded Sports Business Journal’s “Fifty Power Players in Sports Development” and “40 Under 40” by Building Construction and Design. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, certified with the National Council of Architectural Registration Board and is an accredited LEED professional for sustainable design. 

David is president of MANICA Architecture, with locations in Kansas City and London. 

Q: Can you tell me about your background and how you got to where you are today as a successful architect and restaurant owner?

A: I was born and raised here in Kansas City. At a young age, I remember being interested in the houses and buildings I would see around me, and I would draw them on blank pieces of paper from time to time. In around 5th grade when I found out there was actually a word for a person that drew buildings for a living. I was excited to be an architect. I did also consider music as an alternative pursuit, but late in high school I decided to go ahead and take the leap to go to architecture school. I graduated from the University of Kansas School of Architecture in 1994 and have been working as an architect ever since. My first job out of school focused on the design of sport venues (stadium and arenas), and I have been focused on the design of those types of buildings ever since.

The decision to become a bar owner came to me much later in life. That decision was inspired by my international travels and the opportunity I had to travel to some of the best restaurants and bars in the world. In 2016, I decided to open a high-end cocktail bar on the Plaza with a design and drink menu that rivaled some of the best cocktail bars in the world. The Monarch opened in August of 2017, and in 2018 we won The Best New Cocktail Bar in the country as voted by NightClub and Bar.

Q: What inspired the creation of your businesses? 

A: The inspiration to open my own architecture business came in 2007 when I left the firm I had started my career with in 1994. I had a vision for a small “boutique” design firm that focused solely on the early design phases of large sport and entertainment projects around the world. My company is very unique as compared to my competitors, but the personal attention and creativity that my team brings to our work really speaks for itself. 

Q: What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on so far in your career? 

A: I get asked this question often, and I always answer by saying picking my favorite project is like trying to pick my favorite child—I don’t think of things in that way. I love them all equally, and I have learned and struggled and delighted in all of them. I’ll answer instead by highlighting some of my recent projects we are most proud of here in the U.S., including Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for the NFL Raiders and Chase Center in San Francisco for the NBA Golden State Warriors. Other projects include stadiums and arenas in the U.K., Italy, Russia, China and Japan. 

Q: What was it about Kansas City that inspired you to open your three beautiful restaurant spaces, The Mercury Room, Verdigris and Monarch Bar?  

A: The Monarch was inspired as the first of the bars by my travels around the world. Once we found the success and appreciation by the city, we felt confident to open additional concepts. Verdigris in Leawood and The Mercury Room in the Crossroads are both the latest additions to our portfolio and are in partnership with Christian Moscoso, who directs the operations of all three bars. Without a good team and the confidence that the daily operations of the bars would not be a distraction to my primary focus on the architecture company, I would not have opened the additional bars after The Monarch. Christian and the management team of all the bars do an incredible job, and I’m really proud of them and what we have been able to do together.

Q: Are there any future plans for you or your businesses?

A: In my architecture company, we have some really exciting projects to look forward to both domestically and abroad. Within the bar business, we are looking at some new concepts to unroll in the coming year or two. Stay tuned!

For more information on David Manica’s company and projects, visit manicaarchitecture.com.

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