Part of the research that I do in order to design with fresh perspective is consume experiences. It’s less for entertainment and more of an obsessive ordeal to monitor and investigate places and ways humans use space. I say I do it for the architecture, but without forgetting the delightful inspiration that comes with it and the indebtedness I have for something turning my head gears. A peculiar smell or taste can be just satisfactory or quite life-changing. A new, improved way to go through a previously routine task means someone thought differently about human behavior, bringing gratification rather than banality. These successes set the mark for a highly desirable consumer experience and can be enhanced by the design of the space.
For a brewery, the act of drinking a beer can be much more than swigging sweet nectar into your gullet. Not saying that’s necessarily a bad way to go, but it could be so much more. As mentioned, it could be pleasantly life-changing by the taste, the atmosphere you drink it in and the message behind the making process. The experience starts by how you hear about the brewery for the first time, but continues into the first visit where interactions are had and beer is tasted. Now this is where it can be pivotal and there are a few spaces worth mentioning as part of my research.
Jester King Brewery operates outside of Austin, Texas. The key here is that it’s ‘outside’ of Austin. Austin is a wonderful town (my hometown), but it’s the hill country that transforms Jester King into an oasis. The rural country road you wind through and the limestone outcroppings amongst the shady oak trees set the stage for your arrival. The picnic tables and the old agricultural buildings remodeled for brewery operations make for a relaxing and down-home feel in the country backdrop. And I must say those Texas skies make the backdrop.
Slate coffee in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is mind-altering for how they consider coffee ‘service’. You go in and sit down and they talk to you about their latest offerings. It is always changing and they are always passionate in explaining the flavor profiles and where the coffee was grown. You wait casually for coffee prepared with love and expect conversation with the barista because it’s a small place and it’s about hospitality. What a concept and what a game-changer in the coffee world.
Wink & Nod, a speakeasy in Boston’s south end also seems appropriate to mention. It’s dark, it’s moody and it’s quality. The drinks are always well-crafted and original, but the exciting twist is the rotating chefs they host. You will never have the same experience twice, unlike what I love about Slate and Jester King, this bar rapidly evolves and that defines their brand rather than dilutes it. They are giving their space over to be a forum for creative cooking, an altogether new frontier in dining.
Pivotal experiences are not easy to come by and at Fair Isle, the goal is to provide you with a connection to beer like you’ve never experienced and the architecture of the space should reflect that. The hands-on process, the time it takes to cultivate, the more people that see this beer through to fruition are all things that make Fair Isle beer special. As a visitor, we want you to get that connection and embrace the natural irregularities that we embraced while making the beer. That will make for a wonderful design challenge!
- Heather Pogue
Heather Pogue is an architect in Seattle and designs single family and boutique commercial projects. She will be designing Fair Isle’s tasting room and brewery. You’ll be hearing from her more when we secure a space and begin build out.