The touch, in place: silverlight

Pearl. Bellevue.

I’ve been contemplating place. And what happens in the making of place. And what happens to humans, in experience, in place. To epitomize that exploration, that meditation, what would be the best modeling?

A place to eat.

There are few experiential design projects that are more sensately complex than restaurants. Holistically, restaurant experiences reach to every facet of human sensation. And they are about telling stories in a sequence of layers — a sphere of connections to experience. Sight, scent, taste, touch, sound — and finally balance, the instinctual intuition, vibe, if you will, and memory. In a way, I believe that experience design reaches to all of these places — the first five, the initiating connection; these are the obvious, the first elements of sensation.

Follow: deeper.

There’s more, to the context of human connection — and that’s the people that run a place to eat in, celebrating savoring. I was reading about some other friends, other restauranteurs — and one that I’d worked with, connected with earlier. Sirio Maccioni.

Sirio Maccioni
Photograph by: John Lei/The New York Times/Redux

And there’s a greater and more expansive story there, about humanity, sensation, warmth in connection: experience design management. To my link with him — and to restaurant leadership, is about these sensibilities — all of them; the focused outreach and alignment, as well, in the human touch. All of the senses are there — and in the leadership; it’s about the guidance of the brand and the expression of that brand, that story in the relatedness of personal reach. It’s that touch, that celebrates hospitality. This, in a way, concretes all of the eight experiences — the interweaving. Human to human. Now, there’s an added dimensionality. More of a reach.

There are complex levels of layering — deeper, more emotional levels of contact; these might be sensed as psychic interplay, where the five senses support an enveloping depth — a greater sensitivity — in the sphere of balance, the context of intuition and instinctual, reactive vibration; and finally, the capturing vessel of memory.

What I personally believe, is that if a person comes in contact with a place that I’ve been involved in creating, then I need to be, the design team needs to be, contemplating the design elements first in obvious play — and comprehending that there will be more to consider in deeper levels of experiential meditation. What is the reflective sense of containing memory; what is the vibrational response; and finally, how is the person balanced in the experience of place?

It’s not about the obvious things — it’s more about what lies deeper in the play of how place is made. And in a manner of speaking, creating design is always about the opening, and more obvious, grouping of solutions — and then there is what lies beneath that veneer, to more integral framing of human connection. I’ve been writing about that idea of the human brand for a couple of years now, and as I get further into the work, I realize that I understand more — but that there is far more, as well, to learn. And it’s never about objective qualification — it’s more so about subjective experiment, experience and result.

Dawn Clark at brand charette

Working on Pearl, with architect Dawn Clark and interior designer Robert Norwood, as well as the owners Bradley Dickinson, Mikel Rogers and operational strategist Arnold Shain — our visioning was to find the heart of the story and then telling that comprehensively in the detailing of experience development — in mere months from the opening planning strategic initiation. It’s opened; it’s rocking; it’s way beyond target.

Transforming ideas to action.
Transforming ideas to action.

There is poetry in Pearl

Pearl is the quintessence of the mother ocean, who is, in primordial spirit, the matrix of us all.

Finding a sense of story, brand, strategy in making place — the process is always about finding the heart, the heat of instinct, in the center of sensate interconnection — they are always woven, interlaced, in creative action. Balance, instinct, memory.

So in working out the detailing of the place, beyond the mere expression of hollow space….

pearlescent custom paint, right.
Transforming old: Trader Vic’s left; new: pearlescent custom paint, right.

(where it was as a Trader Vic’s), it was a matter of gathering that sense of the polished, concreted refinement of the deep sea, the cooly warm — the lustrous — the layered, the transparent, the veiled — and thinking about how to capture that spirit in the eight dimensions of sensation in the human context. But in the coolness of that, it’s further about the person in play — that is holistically reflective; it is the one, the leading ownership of the brand, it is the other — the guest. How do they reflect each other, how do they connect with each other — what warmth in hospitality is renewed? The guest: “You link with me, as my host, I’ll recall that connection, share it with others, the legacy of warming interconnectivity is extended.

Creating luminous paints, to pearlize Pearl.
Creating luminous paints, to pearlize Pearl.

So we look for textural connections that are — and are not; they are there, and they are not; there’s something to touch; and there’s something there that — like a veil — is a filter to other levels of conscious experience. In our thinking about art, we float ideas and sensibilities that are smoke, vapor, veil, layering — it’s about what you see, what you sense, and what you do not. And therein lies the story — we draw you in, draw you out. And tease the instinctual in memory and the palace of intuition.

We reach beneath the surface. And it’s there that the 3 other senses come into play. Balance is your sense of place in the context of a sphere — it’s your balance in the world — it’s the gyroscope of your psychic / physic place. Balance is your vessel in perception.

Savor flavor.
Savor flavor.

And then, to the centering of memory and the recollection: the sense of instinct and intuition. What you sense is based on the final gathering of millions of points of input; it’s your moment, it’s your memory — and in sensing anything, your reaction will be about instinct — your intuitive sense of your place in the moment. We design there; we build on our instinct, to speak to your intuition.

Bar place, brand space.
Bar place, brand space.

The layering of touch, and sight, mixed with scent and sound, tinged with taste, imagines the other senses in play — balance, your place in space; instinct intuited, vibration tingling and memory recalled. The voice of experience is whole.

Exploring a steely reflectivity - silvered luster.
Exploring a steely reflectivity – silvered luster.

So in a way, Pearl is an experiment in experience — it’s about reaching to the levels of Pearl, symbolically — herself — layering, veiling, enveloping, concealing beauty in beauty. And, finding the heart of the brand — that story — in the center of place. Drawn in, your memory in experience transcribes the encounter. And hopefully, you’ll not forget it. All of the eight senses are interwoven in a tapestry of connection. The guest is the nexus of the brand experience. At the center…

Seat eat, treat.

More, explored here:
Pearlessence: 1 — http://blog.girvin.com/?p=2147
Pearlessence: II — http://blog.girvin.com/?p=2174
Working in Parma & NYC — brand storytelling: http://blog.girvin.com/?p=2148
The Trend of Cool: http://blog.girvin.com/?p=2292
Brand, story, environment, pattern: http://blog.girvin.com/?p=2289
The Human touch, contacting... Pearl team, launch day.
The Human touch, contacting…
Pearl team, launch day.

tsg | decatur island