I've been really busy lately with new Retrograde projects (including a nursery for a rockin' baby boy!) as well as work-work (a family room redecoration with a six-figure budget--great experience for dreaming!) and on top of all that, I've been asked to step in and help with some design/decoration for a new restaurant.
For those of you who don't know, I grew up in a bar/restaurant in the Central Valley. Pre-anti-smoking laws, it was an interesting place for a kid to hang out. Darting around the drunk patrons and playing hide-and-seek in the walk-in refrigerator, I'd imagine which walls I'd like to knock down and which light fixtures I'd put in if I had a say. Even as a kid, I'd imagine how the place could look better so I guess that's kind of when this whole interior design bug got planted. (For the record, it had a vague tropical/Hawaiian theme. I actually scored a black velvet painting of a naked Hawaiian woman as a memento when my father sold the place years ago. It's one of my kick-a** treasures!)
When this new restaurant opportunity came around, I jumped at the chance to help. I'd noticed so many new restaurants in the city sporting the same "design" elements: Edison bulbs, dark colors, blank walls, charcoal gray...so I decided to channel my seven year-old self and ask him what he'd like to see in a restaurant.
Bold graphics. A wild color. Something fun that'd make me smile. The Pizza Machine!
See, The Pizza Machine was a pizza joint by my old childhood home. Way up high, along this 30-foot wide wall (at least that's how big it seemed when I was a kid) there used to be this gigantic perpetual motion machine, a kind of Rube Goldberg contraption that they'd put in motion every hour or so. It made having pizza with the family an experience. To this day, I still think of that wonderful Pizza Machine whenever I order a pie, whether I'm at Pizzeria Delfina, Starbelly, or Marcello's.
I wanted to try and recreate some of that magic while decorating a gourmet restaurant that's dedicated to improving the community. Who knows--these rough concepts might never get developed or see the light of day. But let me know what you think. Would you want to eat at any of these places?