Friday, October 28, 2011

3 Days of Shadowing Local three

- Blog Post by Mark Peterson, "Newest ai3 Member"

I recently started at ai3 where we have a reputation for quality restaurant design, and even though I have practiced architecture for over seven years , I have never designed a restaurant.  I hoped to spend time observing restaurant operations and how the staff interacts with the clients and the architecture.  Chris Hall, one of the owners of Local three, was kind enough to allow me to shadow his staff for 3 days. Below is my first experience:

After spending several nights observing the team at Local three, I can't help but be reminded of my time in the service as an aircraft mechanic. All the key ingredients are the same: quality, physical and mental agility, and the ability to work under pressure.  Whether you are keying a jet up for a mission or putting together meals for a table of six, you have to have a team of professionals that move on instinct.  There simply isn't enough time to explain to everyone how to do the job. 

As I heard over and over from Chris,
"Local three is not a place where you just earn a check, it is a place where the staff is perfecting their craft."

My first lesson I will share with you is that the Host is the key to a restaurant's success.  He or she is your first impression of the restaurant.  If you receive a rude greeting or are told that your reservation wasn't entered into the system, your first visit might well be your last. 

I also did not realize that the hostess is in constant motion, moving seamlessly between the kitchen and their station.  A good host will always have an eye on the kitchen, because unless they know the load the kitchen is under, they cannot gauge the flow for seating the guests. If the host seats a table before the kitchen and the servers can handle them, then it might lead to that feeling we have all had where we wonder if the server forgot about us.  Worst still is when the kitchen is behind, and it results in more tables having to wait longer for their food.  If you have ever wondered why you can't be seated right away when you show up to a restaurant, the flow is the reason.

As Chris Hall said, "It's all about flow, it will make or break a restaurant."

As a guest, you become a participant in the flow and your experience is contextual, setting the tone for the rest of the night.  So if you start off with a bad experience with the Host, than you can bet that your poor experience will make its way through the room. On the other hand, if the Host is on top of their game, you and the restaurant are going to have a successful night.

How will our designs impact first impressions?
How do we make the Host's job easier?
How can our designs create successful flow?
How do we make sure we have open sight lines?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ai3 Bowling for Boobs

ai3 will have 2 bowling teams tonight at Midtown Bowl.  The 4th Annual "Bowling for Boobs" will raise money to benefit Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Of course there are prizes for best and worst score, but the coveted awards are for "Breast Dressed." 
Our final two team names:

Of course there were other names generated over a Friday afternoon Vision Session.
These are the ones that didn't make the cut:

The Boobie Traps, Stop the War in my Rack, Man's Breast Friend, Left Breast Pocket, Wonder Twins, DBL Trouble, Honkers, Bowling Bags, "Tune in Tokyo" with headlights, Knockers, Twins, The Breast of Us, Breast of Luck, Rack Pack, Juggernauts, Juggulars, Breast of Show, Breast Laid Plans, Fun Bags, Ballers, Pin-Ups, Twin Peaks

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ai3 tours Das Haus: Sustainable & Energy design concepts

The Das Haus is a traveling pavilion, now located at Pemberton Place by The World of Coca Cola.The goal of the exhibit is to create an ongoing international dialogue about advanced technologies for home construction and solar energy use. Concepts are meant to demonstrate the future of sustainable building and the resources and integration needed to reach that future.  Several of us ventured to the exhibit over lunch and jotted down the following notes:

EXTERIOR: The exterior cladding consisted of corrugated steel covered with photo-voltaics that were hooked up to a master computer.  The rectangular form of the pavilion was inspired by a shipping container, and was in fact shipped to Atlanta in one. The pavilion only takes 3 days to assemble and 4 days to disassemble. All of the parts of Das Haus are German fabricated components except for the white oak flooring in the central portion of the structure.

SYSTEMS: A small water tank is located inside for the sink and coffee machine.  The construction focused on cutting down heat gain by using concepts such as triple-paned windows that include argon 90 gas and walls insulated with vacumn sealed insulation. Das Haus uses a heat recovery system that cuts down on the amount of energy used by capturing the energy from interior air as it is exhausted.  The pavillin PV array's power is stored in a series of (12) closed-valve lead acid batteries. These batteries feature a gell electrolyte which cuts out the refilling process. There is no maintenance required, very little ventilation, and the batteries can be installed horizontally and vertically.

INTERIORS: Doors, floors, and walls provide 10 times more insulation than those constructed in the U.S. and featured streamlined hardware. Interior materials feature plastic "3-Form" type cabinetry doors, wood flooring, and vinyl wall panels.  The majority of the lighting is LED.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It takes 197 cheese balls to win....

Erin Maas won an enormous container of cheese balls by incorrectly guessing the number of balls in the jar. (It was an "opposite party," to her dismay... she hates cheese balls).

What to do with a HUGE amount of cheese balls?
For Dave Heimbuch, logically, you challenge the studio to a Cheese-Ball-Eating Contest. Never the one to turn down a challenge, Kerry was the first to sign up and Ethan the second.
Ethan ate the fabulous orange dust for only 5 minutes.  He claimed he was full, but Heather said he went back to his desk and ate a bagel.

With Kerry and Dave left to the challenge, the puff-popping continued for about a half hour. 
For personal motivation, "Eye of the Tiger" kept Kerry in the challenge for the last few minutes.
But in the end, the challenger was indeed the winner.  

CONGRATULATIONS to Dave for eating 197 cheese puffs.
Since I wasn't there, I asked what the prize was? 
.... Anything's worth a good laugh around here.