Thursday, March 5, 2015

ECHO restaurant - One Year Later at The King and Prince, St. Simons Island

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to Micajah Sturdivant and MMI Hotel Group!

In the year since ECHO restaurant opened in The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island, GA, the design and experience seem to be accomplishing many of the goals our team set out to achieve.
  • Tell a Story unique to the history of The King and Prince.
  • Showcase the only Beachfront Dining view in St. Simons
  • Offer a Destination for both Locals and Guests
  • Create a Southern Coastal Experience 

In the "BEST OF" Awards from Elegant Island Living of St. Simons Island, ECHO was honored in (3) coveted categories, and most importantly, these were voted on by LOCALS and visitors. 

Best New Thing about St. Simons Island - ECHO Restaurant
Best New Restaurant - ECHO 
Best View from a Restaurant - King and Prince Beach & Gold Resort 

I must confess, I am the most excited to be part of this renovation, as my grandparents, parents, uncle, great aunts & uncles, all have memories of dances and dinners at The King & Prince.  One of my parents 1st dates was there.  To think that my career has the ability to create memories for a whole new generation, is a powerful reminder of why I love what we do.  
Thank you, Micajah, for believing in us.

See more photos of every nook & cranny on

Check out this "Before & After" profile on Hotel Chatter:'s_King_and_Prince_Resort_in_Georgia

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cooks & Soldiers - Night out with the ai3 team

We had the best time last night at the "Friends and Family" dinner for Cooks & Soldiers. The Castellucci Family's 4th restaurant will have its Grand Opening on Monday, November 24th. Those of us connected with the project got a taste of the menu, wine, and the experience of the new design. I snapped a few photographs. Additional settees and lounge chairs for the dining room are stuck in the Buffalo snow storm! Hopefully they will be here soon to complete the design.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Our Love of Halloween

We ALL Love Halloween. Here are today's highlights:

Ethan as Patrick (no socks, same shoes- on the desk, glasses in mouth, looking at his iPhone....)

Patrick trying to be a good sport.

Rosie the Mechanic discusses design with Gordon's Fisherman

Amanda's pretty confident with her Frida uni-brow

Another reason not to mess with Elisa- Rockin' Rosie the Mechanic

Too bad Kellen's beer garden project went on hold... He's The Brewmaster
McLean's exquisite Witch Doctor costume

Our awesome studio 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ai3 working with team behind Flatiron Building's renovation in Atlanta

The Atlanta Business Chronicle announced yesterday that private equity firm Lucror Resources has purchased the Flatiron Building.
ai3's studio is extremely excited to be part of the team bringing this historic building back to life as a start-up hub for businesses.  During our early investigations, we came across these archive photos of the building and learned some pretty cool facts.

Our Owner FINALLY removing the For Sale sign from the Flatiron Building!

Designed by architect Bradford Gilbert, the 11-story Flatiron building was completed in 1897 and is Atlanta's oldest standing skyscraper.  So cool!  (The Equitable Building that was demolished in 1971 was Atlanta's first skyscraper, built in 1892)
Atlanta's Flatiron Building predates NYC's more famous, of the same name

Architect Bradford Gilbert designed the "skeleton" steel structure to support the floor loads and the exterior wall assembly-
Amazing accomplishment in 1897

The Atlanta Flatiron predates the more famous New York City Flatiron Building by 5 years.  While they share the same name, the Atlanta building adopted the popular Flatiron name in 1916. In 1976, the Flatiron Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and while it has changed its name many times throughout the years, in 1980 the name was changed back to the Flatiron Building.

Check out the advertisement for new tenants- January 1st 1898!!

Nerdy Fact:  TV and movie filming is now common place in Atlanta, but back in the day, the Flatiron was home to Matlock's law offices on the popular TV show, "Matlock." (Actor also known as Andy Griffith, Dave.)

When the project is complete, the redevelopment will promote entrepreneurship in downtown Atlanta by creating a collaborative and vibrant environment with workspaces, meeting rooms, and other unique amenities.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Design Inspiration and Dedication

ai3's studio finds design inspiration in many places and in many things.  

When a Chef or Owner has a specific concept for their restaurant, we dig deep into the meaning and history of the concept, searching for something unique. We want the story to unfold through design, not through literal references, but in interesting ways that spark conversation.

One of our upcoming restaurants is inspired by the Basque Country.  San Sebastian is filled with stunning, visual inspiration, but our research uncovered a tradition that goes back centuries. Basque cider making, in days gone by, occurred on pretty much every farmstead. Each had its own apple press and produced cider for the immediate consumption of family, friends and neighbors.

In each Cider House, there is a person in charge of opening the huge wooden barrels for diners. An orderly queue line follows beside the barrel, and diners catch the cider in a tumbler glass as it pours out in a thin jet.

To honor this tradition, the design team created a feature wall reminiscent of the cider barrels with aged wood and steel straps.  Last night, our beloved and truly dedicated, Kellen Minor, worked late into the night staining wood with Dave Peter of Derucki Construction. Sometimes the budget doesn't afford your vision, so you pick up your paint brush to ensure your story can be told.  Not ideal, but a dedicated team, nonetheless.  

PROCESS: Kellen and Dave working on the wood wall

Inspiration: Basque Cider House barrels

First Layer of Cider Barrel-Inspired Wall

Thursday, September 4, 2014

ai3 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Leave it to my partners to want bone-chilling ice poured down each other's shirts.

Over 3 million people around the globe have contributed 100 million dollars to the ALS Association, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within 2 to 5 years of diagnosis.

Dan Maas challenged Patrick Johnson in the fundraiser for ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge."  
I did NOT mind helping out with the buckets, by the way... 
This. Was. Awesome.



There is no cure and only one drug approved by the FDA that modestly extends survival. This incredible fundraising campaign will provide funds for cutting-edge research as well as care and support to people living with ALS.  

If you'd like to take the challenge or learn more:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Congratulations to ai3's new Principals!

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since we founded ai3. There are amazing clients that helped us get here, but there are also many leaders within ai3 that have contributed to our tremendous success. 

Last week we announced 3 new Principals to ai3: Dave Heimbuch, Ann-Marie Lima, and Amy Price.  These 3 will help us mentor the studio and shape the next chapter of ai3.  If you don't know them, let me share a few things...

Dave Heimbuch
Principal, ai3
Best Partner Holiday Gift: ai3 deck of playing cards. Dave was the Ace.
Ann-Marie Lima
Principal, ai3

Amy Price
Principal, ai3

Amy hosting ai3's Chili Cook-Off
And, Amy WINNING ai3's Chili Cook-Off
Amy: "I never thought in college that one day I'd commission a velvet painting of 'The Dude.'"
Cheese Ball Eating Contest- Dave won. Kerry said her mouth was too small. Right.
This was my favorite Partner Holiday Card. ai3 Mug Shots.
The truck is finally put to rest. Jason gets Ann-Marie a sports car.
New Order was playing on the stereo. Dave used to wear his hair like this in high school.
Surprise! Poster of Ann-Marie's ripped back in her wedding dress.  Whoa.
40th birthday- "Manuary Mustache" in final phases of being shaved off
80's era hair do's from Dave and Ann-Marie

And their better-halves, also part of our ai3 family...
Jason and Ann-Marie
Dave, Zoe, and Vanessa.... oh, and Patrick in the back
Amy and Brent
Ryder Price (left) with Quint Johnson

Baby girl Price should be born any minute now....

Thank you Dave, Ann-Marie and Amy!  
Here's to the next 10 years of ai3!