The cocktail is a distinctly American tradition. Once the centerpiece of a thriving “cocktail culture,” it has faded since the 1950s but is now being embraced by a new generation of makers and mixologists who value quality and craft. The Spirits Pavilion, by Min | Day, presents this rejuvenation as part of Slow Food Nation 2008, an event in Fort Mason, San Francisco dedicated to creating a framework for deeper environmental connection to our food aiming to inspire and empower Americans to build a food system that is sustainable, healthy and delicious. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The Spirits Pavilion explores seasonality, sustainability and craftsmanship as emerging practices in the spirits industry. Local bartenders renowned for their creativity and expertise serve up samples of award-winning, American-made spirits and cocktails mixed with fresh fruit, juices and herbs – an experience nobody would forget.
Min | Day designed a 1,200 square-foot environment for sampling cocktails that embraces the “alchemical” transformation of agricultural sources into highly refined products. The boldly graphic architecture is part landscape and part atmospheric bar. Recalling agricultural landscapes, each strip represents one of the base spirits: whiskey, brandy, rum, vodka, gin and tequila with the vertical portion presenting an image of the agricultural source. An additional strip at the front edge of the space represents a collection of botanical spirits such as absinthe and bitters. Each strip is given an iconic color and printed with abstract images of the organic source of the particular spirit.
Backing the abstracted environment and forming the last strip, a large Oak-topped bar extends the length of one side of the space and is used for serving cocktails mixed by leading local bartenders. One area of the bar is a dedicated tasting station where visitors sample a wide variety of spirits from different small-batch producers from around the U.S. The front face of the bar is clad in historical images of bars, public houses and cocktail lounges from the begins of the American cocktail.
Paper parasols, reminiscent of cocktail umbrellas and clouds, hang above the space and infuse the environment with a soft light effect that merges day with night. Pop-up boxes from recycled lumber display historical artifacts of cocktail culture and the contemporary creations of small producers. The Spirits Pavilion evokes the agricultural origins of spirits – surplus grains and produce transformed into something magical.
INTERIOR PRODUCTS & MATERIALS, SUMMARY: Flooring: 1/8″ Sintra w/ custom graphics Walls: 12×4 Luanflats w/ 1/8″ Sintra on east wall; Asian Ideas paper umbrellas on north wall Bars: Ikea butcher block top (birch), Metroshelving base Ceiling: McCune Lighting truss system, Asian Ideas paper umbrellas (natural white), 2″x 2″ welded wire rolls. Lighting: McCune Lighting custom metal truss system w/ lights Display Cabinets: Various recycled woods, 2″x 2″ welded wire rolls, 1/8″ Sintra w/ custom graphics Architects, lead designers and general contractor: Min | Day Curators: Greg Lindgren and Allen Katz Graphic Designer: Matthew Runeare Cabinetry: Maars Woodworking and Building Walls: John Murray Productions Printing: Giant Impressions, Inc. Lighting Design: Min | Day Lighting Installation: McCune Lighting Photographer: Cesar Rubio