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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Concept to Completion

Renovate an existing restaurant with a limited budget and restricted time frame.

Monsoon Cuisine of India restaurant is inspired by a deep blue squall of a monsoon storm and the rich and vibrant spices of Indian food. Maintaining a modern and contemporary aesthetic, brilliant tonal variations of brick red, blue, and coastal gray are displayed on the walls. Concrete flooring is polished to a lustrous sheen like a calm lake. Stainless steel accents are balanced with rich wood tables and chairs.  Sparkling chandeliers provide just the right amount of animation for the small space.

See mention of me in this article from Sacramento Press

Resources: Zuo Modern, West Elm, Z Gallerie, Jenco Companies, Benjamin Moore Paint, Inland Paint Company, Astra Contract Furniture.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Does Good Design Mean Expensive Design?

Does good design mean expensive design? Not necessarily. Money buys neither taste nor good design. My restaurant project had a minuscule budget and my client didn't know what they wanted, couldn't make choices when they were presented with them, and when they did make a choice, they did not stick by those decisions. But we got through it. I believe the result is a very pleasant environment that is both comfortable and functional. While there are no unique design moments in the space, there are also no huge mistakes, and most importantly, the design supports the food, which should be the star.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


A big challenge in the design for my restaurant client was the existing stainless steel sheeting covering the bar. Since the budget was extremely tight, removing the stainless steel was not an option.  Tactile elements involve people with their surroundings and it is important because it can make a room feel psychologically warm and comfortable or cold and uninviting, such as the stainless steel.  To balance this strong element, the decorative surface like table tops, upholstery, and artwork where selected to balance the environment. An important element was the artwork. It was commissioned from an artist in India to coordinate with the color palette and relate the Monsoon and Indian identities. I think it is extremely beautiful.

Monsoon Restaurant Furniture Installation

The remodeling and renovation of my restaurant project is completed. Now the fun part begins -installation of furniture and art. All the furniture arrived on the eve that we finished polishing the floors and touched up the paint, and I scheduled the installation for the next afternoon. I get a frantic call from my client (never a good thing) telling me that they had placed the tables and chairs and "something is wrong, because nothing fits!"  Uh oh, I tell them I am on my way and we will figure it out. In about 45 minutes I had all the tables and chairs placed (according to the furniture plan) and my client wryly admitted, "Ah, that's why you are so good at what you do." This was a nice affirmation, indeed.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Restaurant Lighting

Finding just the right light for any space is probably the most important element in a successful design, but lighting for a restaurant is akin to the lighting required for a theatrical production, because it affects diners in many ways.  Fortunately for my current restaurant project there is amble daylighting, which is perfect for lunch, but what about dinner?  We needed to create just the right mood mixing plenty of sparkle with a pleasant balance of direct and indirect lighting. I found the perfect light for the bar area. The sparkle of Zuo Modern’s Nebula Chandelier will enhance and encourage conversation. Additionally, with the just enough crystals to bounce light off of the walls and ceiling, it seems to create an almost magical effect, giving the small restaurant the nudge of animation it required.