Evening Star Cafe, Alexandria
The Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria, VA was one of the first restaurants I worked on with Neighborhood Restaurant Group almost 15 years ago, so I was thrilled when the owners asked me to update the Erector Set interior lighting and to also create the art installation for the main dining room.
The main fixture is a bridge-inspired track system that allows for the servers to move the pendant lights up and down the length of the dining area to accommodate different table configurations. I used hundreds of individual Erector girder pieces from various vintage sets that I had been collecting over the years, and then hooked glass insulator pendant lights onto wheeled carts that roll on the track. I made matching Deco inspired sconces for the booths, and two hanging fixtures for the front tables made of aluminum "spinners" from retired aircraft engines.
When thinking about the art pieces that were to hang over each booth, I wanted to create an installation with found objects that would be conversation pieces for the diners and provide enough interest and complexity so that each time you returned to the restaurant something new and unexpected caught your eye. The old sconces that I had installed in the original restaurant using items like a Mr. Peanut figurine, a vintage espresso maker, antique copper cookie presses, etc. had become so iconic to the restaurant that I wanted to make sure the loyal diners who had patronized the restaurant for years still felt that spirit of whimsy. Where I could, I repurposed some of those items throughout the restaurant.
For the back bar, Majestic Lounge, I created simple star fixtures mounted on old pot lids for the main room, and worked with the design team to illuminate a few hundred vintage Ball jars over the new bar.