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: