Hosptality Design: Tricking the Senses

Davis Ink

May 1, 2015

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter teems with nightclubs and restaurants, but the arrival of Parq marks a significant design departure for the city’s downtown entertainment district. “We wanted to create a magical fantasyland,” says Davis Krumins, cofounder of Costa Mesa, California-based Davis Ink. Adds venue owner Carlos Becerra: “My vision for Parq is to be the first dining and nightlife venue in San Diego that incorporates the best of Las Vegas, Ibiza, Miami, and New York hospitality.”

The historic space, now divided into a restaurant and nightclub, was once an office building and home of the former On Broadway Event Center before Krumins and his team linked them together via a tunnel. Roll-up garage doors establish an inviting street presence, while the restaurant entry beckons with a striking green wall that delineates a microcosm of New York’s Central Park.

An “urban park turned upside down” is the inspiration for the restaurant, says Sara Hernandez, interior designer at Davis Ink. “It’s a moody space, with trees lit up by LED lights and exposed brick—a little industrial but playful at the same time.” A cavernous portal then leads to the “theatrical, crazy lights and Las Vegas contrast of the nightclub,” Krumins explains.

There, the bar is accentuated by a wall of bottles, not unlike museum pieces, framed in boxes and illuminated by more LED lights. Staggered 8-inch acrylic tubes, cut into different lengths, make up an 18-foot feature “that’s beautiful and glowing. The mirror behind it creates an infinity effect, almost like an instrument dancing to the music,” Hernandez points out. Subtle details—including the backs of commodious VIP banquettes covered in a patchwork pattern recreated from one of Krumins’ vintage, 1970s-era jackets—ensure guests “find something new every time,” he says.

Even restaurant’s women’s lounge is far from ordinary. The convivial ladies-only lair comes complete with a bar, black lace wallpaper, and recessed niches stocked with glowing perfume bottles. In the center, a bench dangles from chains like a swing, and oversized hand mirrors on the walls are, Hernandez says, “a weird sort of artwork.”

Juxtaposition guides the design ethos throughout Parq—melding pre-existing raw beams with an open glass roof, and a concrete floor with velvet poufs and raw steel. “The organic with the rough and the luxurious is a sexy, odd mixture, but it really works,” says Krumins. “The senses are tricked.”

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