For those who frequent this eclectic Chicago bar/restaurant, most will agree that, in addition to great food, drink and conversation, its true magic and charm lies in its ever-changing quirky persona. For many years, every nook and cranny, each shelf and alcove of the bar interior was adorned with a constantly-evolving collection of second-glance oddities and off-kilter, iconic objects. These, the heart-and-soul of the space’s ambiance, provided a spectrum of visual interest. Over time, however, the day-to-day had taken its tole on the bar’s interior creating a need for yet another change, one which would rejuvenate the space while remaining open to evolution and change; one which would define the bar’s character clearly without fixing it in time or aesthetic.
In response, the design was fueled with the idea that architecture, in all its function and usefulness, can serve as a canvas for beauty and unknown creative invention. Rather than providing a design solution, we instead constructed a thoughtful framework, within which future additions, subtractions and alterations may occur. A series of pinwheel geometries, each a different size and orientation, combined to frame the elements of function in the bar room. A recessed television and fireplace were framed aside a primary seating area while wine, beer and liquor bottles were displayed at various points behind the bar. Glassware was housed at key moments in the pattern to enhance the working rhythm and efficiency of the bartenders during busy shifts. A series of back-lit logos populated other frames within the pattern, paying homage to the legacy and evolution of the bar. Most importantly, many of the frames were left blank, open to the invention of the staff and its patrons over time. The winter holidays may find several of these occupied with holiday wrapping paper and bows while, at other times, they may be loaned out as spaces for the presentation of work by local artists. No matter what fills the pattern over time and why, the only mandate the design holds is the necessity for it to change and evolve constantly into the future.