944: Distinctive Nightlife by Design

Davis Ink

July 28, 2016

Davis Krumins Knows a Thing or Two About Creating That Certain Something

– By Cynthia Lewis

Flavored martinis, an energetic DJ and a glamorous crowd are all common components of a successful nightclub, but the “wow factor” patrons feel when they walk in the door lies in the décor. The 35-foot water feature that spills into the back bar bottle display at Stingaree, the firework light fixtures suspended over tables at Bar West and the wall made of handpicked driftwood from Bali at the recently opened club Universal come from interior design mastermind Davis Krumins.

Aside from EnDev Enterprises, Krumins is the creative force behind some of the hottest nightspots of Southern California, including Suki 7 in Westlake and the new Kress club at the former Frederick’s of Hollywood building in Hollywood. After working at a top restaurant design firm in Los Angeles for several years, Krumins formed Davis Ink Ltd. in 2002. 944 recently sat down with him to find out the design secrets to his success.

944: Interior design involves a lot of artistic talent. Do you have a background in the arts? DAVIS KRUMINS: When I first started I did a lot of painting and furniture design on my own, so I was sort of an artist. I studied architecture in school with a specialization in modernism. With restaurant and nightclub design you can come up with new approaches. It’s a canvas where you can experiment with new things and take it in a completely new direction.

When you are given a project, what is the creative process you go through? First we have to find out the general needs, goals and requirements of the project, like will the space be formal or casual? What type of food will be served? Nightclub or restaurant? Who will be our target clientele? Once we have determined this information, we can start having fun. Our general goal is to create a space that is totally unique—something completely unexpected. We like to create environments that are funky and bizarre in a good and positive way. We want to create the “wow factor.” We start out by throwing out lots of fun ideas. Nothing can be too weird or bizarre during the conceptual process. Once we have come up with these loose ideas we begin to sketch the floor plans and elevations. During this process we play around with fabrics, materials, tile, glass and stone. We are always looking for new products and finding new ways to use them in our projects.

What was your vision behind designing Stingaree? Stingaree was a very special project for me. This was our first really big job. We wanted to create a space that could function as a restaurant, nightclub, and special events venue. We wanted Stingaree to be spectacular and sophisticated, but we also wanted to make sure that the environment had a cool vibe. We did not want the space to be too intimidating or overly formal. We wanted our design to be ultra-modern with smooth high gloss surfaces and sleek, streamlined fixtures. We wanted to use new materials that had never been used before in San Diego.

What was your most challenging project and why? My most challenging project was Bar West in Pacific Beach; it was also one of the most rewarding. We had a very limited budget and a very short time frame to design and build. Also, the existing building was in extremely poor shape. These limitations forced us to be super creative. We had to come up with very interesting solutions and invent new ways to create the “wow factor.” The harshest conditions often produce the best results. I think the job turned out to be incredible.

What are the current trends in interior design? This is a very fascinating time for interior design. On one hand, minimalist modernism is very popular. On the other hand, highly ornate almost gaudy, Hollywood glamour design is coming into vogue. I have found that the combination of these two seemingly contradictive design languages can produce some very fascinating results.

On a personal note, what’s your favorite drink and dish? My taste in alcohol is quite simple. I prefer a nice red wine like merlot or cabernet sauvignon. I also enjoy beer, especially English stouts and microbrew pale ales. I love food in general. I eat lots of sushi and also enjoy steak, crab and lobster. The New York pizza served at Side Bar is fantastic!

Aside from being a designer, you’re also a dad? My family is awesome. I have an incredible wife named Andrea and two beautiful kids—Maya is 6 and Andre is 10. Little do my clients know that some of our best design ideas originated from the kids. I always take the family to job sites and keep them very involved. You will often see the entire Krumins family at the job site helping out before the opening.

Any upcoming projects? We have lots of very cool projects coming soon, including a 100-room boutique hotel in Hollywood that will include two restaurants, a bar and a rooftop pool. We have incredible clients that we love working with and see nothing but success in our future.

Any advice for aspiring interior designers? Have a passion and love for what you do. This can be an incredibly rewarding profession. Don’t let the 12-hour workdays bum you out.

Check out Krumins’ passion at: www.davis-ink.com