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!

Monday, April 21, 2014

ai3's site visit to The Luminary @ Krog Street Market

On Wednesday, the studio ducked out early for a visit to Krog Street Market and a check on construction progress of The Luminary.  Used as a teaching experience, we discussed framing details and ceiling transitions.  There's always much debate as to whether the space feels larger or smaller once the studs started shaping the space.

View from Dining Room to future patio overlooking Krog Street

Future site of many, many shucked oysters at the Oyster Bar

Discussing how the Kitchen Ceiling transitions from space to space and how it will be hung

View from Dining area back to Oyster Bar and Main Bar- Beautiful natural light coming from the clerestory of warehouse

Area for future stalls outside of the Main Bar are of The Luminary

Future spot of delicious cocktails at the Main Bar

Bar area looking back into the Dining room

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Hipster Business

Recent observations by The New York Times, New York Times Style magazine and Skift, suggest that businesses are trying to cater to the "grunge-meets-geek-meets-grad-school" crowd.

These editorials discuss "Brooklynizing" and Brooklyn's influence on areas in industrial-chic neighborhoods across the world, including Canal-St. Martin, Paris.

I grabbed a few images of hotel designs influenced by this need to feel authentic. One of the first to perfect this industrial-vintage-repurposed style was the Ace Hotel. The Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn and the Hotel FABRIC in Paris are referenced in the below articles.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Finding Design Inspiration, wherever we are

Walking on the beach this morning, I noticed the dark mineral deposits streaking through the sand. The soft waves kept coasting across the marble-like veins, and it brought a smile to my face. I knew this was our team's inspiration for the bar top at Common Quarter.  That gorgeous stone top is one of the biggest design statements in their renovation and was inspired by Local Three's 4th partner, Chris Talley, who grew up on the beaches of St. Simon's Island.

The patterns of the mineral deposits had me thinking of the many sources of inspiration we have in design and especially patterning. Having been an Interior Designer for almost 20 years, I've heard many, many stories from sales reps of the exotic travels of textile designers and how their travels inspired their latest collection of patterns.

But here I am again on the Florida panhandle, enjoying the beach where we've always vacationed with my son, and I'm admiring all the subtle beach textures.  Not particularly exotic, but it was worth snapping a few shots. You never know when it will inspire something new....

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stem Wine Bar & Common Quarter: Final touches before opening

We installed furniture yesterday in Chef Doug Turbush's new endeavor, Stem Wine Bar. Located next door to Seed Kitchen & Bar, the design concept is very different from Seed with it's rich, dark wood finishes and upholsteries.  But with Seed's smashing success, we think the neighbors will embrace this cozy wine bar for a slightly different dining experience as well as it's before & after dinner appeal.

We're setting the LED lights tonight (the green @ the glass racks)
Once all the wine glasses are hung, the back-lighting will create a large chandelier for the space
Just down the road in the Woodlawn Shopping Center, the team of Chef Chris Hall, Ryan Turner, Chef Todd Mussman, and Chris Talley will be opening Common Quarter. We see from Talley's Facebook page that Tuesday, October 8th is the official date.
Inspired by the southern coast and the familiar drives we all take through the southern farm lands, the design has many unique touches.

Lobster cage inspired bar shelving
Installed shelving with shutter canopy over the bar

The new bar top is a Bianco Ondulare stone whose veining reminds us of the mineral deposits in the sand when the water recedes on the Georgia coast. 

The private dining room is enclosed by board and batten ceiling and walls with an abstracted charcoal & white, gingham patterned curtain.  The featured artwork above the banquette is a nautical chart of the St. Simon's Island and Tybee Island areas, where Co-Owner Chris Talley grew up.

PDR privacy curtain  
Nautical Chart of St. Simon's Island and Tybee Island