YOU DO YOU means bringing your strengths to the vision of a project. This is the magic formula and secret potion to good, collaborative design. Read on for an inside look at one of our newest projects and enjoy the conceptual design Q&A with our own, Irene Yu.
Featuring: Dirty Water – San Francisco Owners: Kristian Cosentino and Matthew Hawes Lead Roles: Jarad Gallagher (executive chef) and Zachary Taylor (mixologist)
Supporting Actors: RN Field (contractor), IDA Structural Engineers, AGE Consulting (MEP) and Ager Tank (brewery supply), Jeff Melton (equipment design) Debut: June 2015 – NOW OPENSituated on the ground floor of the Twitter HQ building, Dirty Water has been noted as one of San Francisco’s most anticipated bar and restaurant openings of 2015. The mystique design draws inspiration from the primal, high-quality menu from Michelin-starred chef, Jarad Gallagher. To start, the entrance is situated on a central axis with an immediate view of the monumental bar that features silhouetted bar inventory behind a colorful glass display. To the left and right of the bar are two open and two semi-private lounge areas, accented with a juxtaposition of concrete, steel, sensual accents of leather, dimmed lighting and burnt wood.Across from a back-lit sommelier wall of wine bottles and glasses, a wood burning stove acts as a warm hearth centered in the space. Let us not forget to mention the bar program: 52 beers on tap, 5 of which are brewed on-site, over 200 whiskey options and a selection of 115 wines. The mixologist, Zachary Taylor, formerly at Ziryab, is hard at work incorporating his house-made syrups, tinctures and infusions to craft inimitable cocktails.
Do visit and have a cocktail while you’re at it!
She’s Our Hype-man
“Should I spell ‘Hi’ with these magnets to go with my picture?” I didn’t tell her there would be a picture, she’s just good on her feet. This is Irene Yu, Arcsine’s oldest employee (not by age of course) and this youthful face has worked on monster projects such as the San Francisco Hilton Tower renovations, Oakland’s landmark Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café, and, most recently, Dirty Water in the Twitter building, to name a few. She’s no stranger to collaboration and we want to share a bit more about the process she’s developed.
“I love interesting objects,” she says,”and dramatic spaces! I enjoy thinking about why I’m drawn to them.”
I imagine she turns ‘them’ around in her mind, flips the image like a coin and pockets it for a later date. As a twenty something in Insta-land with no shortage of visual inspiration, Irene speaks of Monocle, the all-encompassing “Global Affairs, Business, Culture and Design” publication that is a recent fetish – it keeps her wanting to travel and wanting to create interesting experiences. She says she’s the “hype-man” at Arcsine, the one who gets the client excited about new possibilities for a space they just signed a lease for or just purchased. “They are the instigator…and we help flesh it out”. She says that clients want to work with designers who understand them and their mission. As architect/designers we need to be engaging storytellers to draw others in.
At project start, she pitches a wide breadth of different ideas that help the client see something fresh or clarify something they didn’t want – both are equally important. You can tell from the concept wall of images in the room that she loves to tell stories. You can picture the entire environment, each image is so rich: smoky cocktail lounges; elegant silhouettes; avante-garde furniture in opulent textiles; verdant feather coat; exotic vignettes of interior spaces. These pictures are weaved together to propose a timeless, space-less destination for a new bar in Oakland (that is not to be named).
Irene, I ask, with whom do you collaborate?
“With everyone”, she says. Sounds true enough, the client comes first and “we, as architects have their back.”
She speaks of contractors, for example: “it is extremely important to keep up good relationships with them.” This is understandable considering they help direct budget, timeline and can influence the direction of a project depending on the space. Municipalities are another key player in the building of buildings. Jokingly, she says she has to put on her “charmy pants to beg or fight for approval” from a city’s building department permit counter – usually the result is a collaborative, give/take conversation until everyone can walk away satisfied. Obviously we live in a place where growth is encouraged but there are always hurdles and to quote Irene, “it takes a village to raise a project.”
After the glitz and glamour of concept design, pitches and presentation, Irene helps translate ideas into a tangible reality. It takes a team within (and out) of the walls of Arcsine to see a project through each phase and architects are often the middle man, carrying the story to “the fin”, conceptually and physically.
My last question applies to all creatives involved – how does one maintain their voice as a designer? Irene says she always hopes at least a little of her voice comes through “in a compelling niche of a restaurant or in an unexpected/unique detail, but if the client is happy – that is a great thing.”
We are hiring for 2 positions. If you have a degree in architecture and 2-5yrs or 5-8 yrs experience, please email [email protected] (click on ‘Join Our Team’ for full description)