The screens frequently seen on building facades in Memphis served as the inspiration for this restaurant design. While these façade screens function to soften the strong sunlight, we employed layers of screens to address the client’s need for “the mayor to have lunch without anyone noticing” while preserving the open face running along a longitudinal side.
Presented with a very long and narrow restaurant space, we created a layered space defined by screens for areas of dining and bar/reception while maintaining an overall sense of openness. Three different screens were designed to address different programmatic needs. The screens’ patterning morphs to accommodate their function as a wine wall, light wall or curtain. The layered screens of aluminum squiggles and cherry veneer panels separate the dining areas from the restaurant’s main circulation. The screens double as a wine wall which allows the chef to display his full collection of wines. The rear cherry paneled wall is a graphic interpretation of layers of screens collapsed into a two dimensional surface. This paneled wall is backlit from behind and provides a large portion of the dining area and bar lighting. Finally, the pattern is used to cut etched finish film and applied to the 125’ long glass storefront facing the pedestrian arcade creating different degrees of privacy. All screens were digitally cut from the architect’s file and fabricated offsite.
As one passes in between layers of screens or alongside the glazed long side, a moiré pattern, an optical illusion that is formed from layers viewed while moving, appears. In this case, the compound pattern of the layers of screens looks literally like flowing water. It was a nice confirmation….because one of the most hauntingly powerful presences in Memphis is the Mississippi River. The general contractor was Metro Construction.