What an exciting summer. Most of the time was spent designing & creating the interior for another commercial bar space: the 715 Club on 27th & Welton. It kept me away from creative time in the studio but it was fun knowing I was a part of bringing back a historic establishment that writer Jack Kerouac frequented. The pub is located right in the heart of Five Points. One can imagine, as the closest bar to the jazz venues along Welton, Kerouac would have been rubbing elbows and imbibing with band members from the best jazz acts in the country back in the 40's. Be sure to check out the perfect historically complete restoration of the original sign above the door while perusing Kerouac's "On the Road" to find the quote: "The dazzling lights at 27th & Welton", a reference to his time spent in the pub.
The new owners, Sudhir Kudva, Corey Costello, and Michael Reilly were just awesome to work with. We agreed on the initial design with a rough sketch drawn up on a bar napkin @ the Matchbox, just up the street from my studio on Larimer. I love closing projects that way & truly enjoyed working with Sudy, Cory & Reilly through the entire process. Their personal creativity made for an interesting & challenging design project. At first, we were overwhelmed with wonderful ideas to incorporate into the bar. Finally, Reilly walked into my studio one day during the design process & said: "Everyone has ideas we want in the bar; but, just keep doing what you're doing & it will come out great". With that free reign I was able to cut loose & make them a real nice pub.
Another hidden helping hand were the architects, Arc West. We never even met; yet, they had already drafted a fantastic foot print for me to design from... a cool "flying wing" shaped bar. That massive triangular shape was a wonderful nod toward geometric shapes common in the Deco era when the original bar was booming. So, I also worked subtle Deco styling in my furniture design / bar build.
My own objective was to provide the owners with a "classy yet comfortable" neighborhood establishment where patrons could enjoy drinking. Once they had "good bones" to run their business from... the rest was up to them. I had confidence they would turn this one into a success.
With the help of my oldest son, Conrad, we had the main portions of our work installed relatively quickly. Finishing touches had to be worked in between other contracting schedules.
The finished bar & tables exhibited my usual use of reclaim, upcycle & construction grade materials; as well as, a mixture of different materials (wood, metal, plastic, resin) and finishes. The final design has a "green" backbone; some of the highlights include: Ebonized bar top & table tops are made completely from reclaim wood; an inlay pattern of plywood cut-offs, hardwood mill scrap & I even worked in job site cut-offs of OSB (oriented strand board, the sheathing material made from bi-product wood chips). Sudy dubbed the OSB use "double reclaim". The decorative bar face panels are made from 100+ year old reclaim fir strip material. The trim material is local harvest beetle kill pine. The bar tables also have reclaim pipe worked into the design. Obviously, I love designing reclaim, re-purposed and up-cycle materials into my work.
Another very cool up-cycle element in the pub are the re-purposed original bar stools. Young yet talented designer / artist Erica Rawson Kudva came up with that fantastic design idea. Frankly, they just look incredible & really help finish the space. Erica collaborated on the overall interior design and had a hand in several of the key design features @ the 715 Club. I look forward to seeing future commercial space design work from Erica.
Almost all my work is truly hand made; including, the entire bar. One of the most frequently recognized "hand made" styles is the Brutalist movement where the artist goes out of his / her way to keep the creation "real" by highlighting a hand created quality. I love bringing Brutalist styling into my designs & for the 715 club blended the style with Decoesque features. This photo from the RiNo Crow article, of the pub as it neared completion, shows the hand made Deco shapes worked into the light feature and the metal chevron in the center of the bar face:
The pub received quite a bit of local press. Of course, my favorite would be the RiNo Art District monthly publication The RiNo Crow with an article titled: "RiNo Artist a Designer to the Bars". (Because it mentions Erica & I as the design collaborators) - see article below). Some other articles include:
with Kevin J. Beaty's photo of the logo I designed for the table legs (shown below). Thanks to Kevin for taking such a cool shot!
For this metal leg design, I scrawled the concept on paper & my youngest son, Brian, worked up the CAD drawing for the logo. Daughter Tiffany (a recent DSA graduate) help decide on the cantered placement. So I suppose the table design was a "family" collaboration. Adding the metal logo really help customize the tables to the bar.
Denver Eater Magazine:
Westword Magazine with a Karl Christian Krumpholz cartoon and a couple different articles as the project took shape. The following link has several great photographs of my finished design work: