Accolade for designer
A Bermudian architect’s New York creation has been named one of the top ten bar and restaurant interiors of 2015.
Online architecture magazine Design Boom listed Kinfolk — a Brooklyn bar, retail and event space — as the only United States location on the international list.
John Berg, who founded Berg Design Architecture in 2001, told The Royal Gazette it felt “terrific” to receive the accolade from Design Boom, which boasts more than one million Facebook followers.
“I think it’s the most creative and most enjoyable project we’ve ever done,” said Mr Berg, a former Saltus Grammar School student.
“It was an incredibly collaborative effort. Everyone was absolutely thrilled with the result, and then to be recognised for it is a win-win.”
Mr Berg first caught the eye of the Kinfolk creative collective thanks to his work on the stylish and sustainable Old Stone Highway House in Long Island.
They handed him the following brief for the project: “The space should feel like it was designed for an off-the-grid Pacific Northwest hippy mathematician.”
Thankfully, the quirky challenge proved intriguing rather than off-putting.
“No client had said anything like that to us before,” said the 51-year-old, who has been based in New York for two decades.
“That’s more the kind of brief one might get in architecture school for a design project. We thought it was incredibly exciting, and away we went.”
The venue’s distinctive look comes from its geodesic dome shell structure, made from Douglas fir and red cedar wood.
“I think we’re modernists at heart, but I don’t think that our work fits easily in one particular box,” said Mr Berg. “We try to innovate as much as our clients let us get away with.”
The 4,000-square-foot Kinfolk has been picking up plenty of plaudits since opening last year, including reaching the finals of the 2015 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in London.
And, at the start of December, soul singer Erykah Badu even performed a surprise concert at the venue, with A Tribe Called Quest rapper Q-tip on the decks.
Despite Mr Berg’s success, a fulfilling creative career was not always on the cards.
He only began studying architecture aged 29 at the Rhode Island School of Design after a unsatisfying period working as a real estate broker in Boston.
Mr Berg’s earliest work can be seen right here in Bermuda, where he and his father John “Chuckie” Berg designed the Whale Watch neighbourhood in Warwick among other projects.
“I love Bermuda and I’d really like to do more work on the Island in future,” he said.
To see more of Berg Design Architecture’s work, visit www.bergdesignarchitecture.com.
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