Grass Skirt is a Tiki bar concept designed by Davis-Ink in Pacific Beach, San Diego. Our client Matt Spencer who is known for having many of the coolest restaurants / bars and lounges in town came to us with the goal of creating a new “hot spot” based on the reinterpretation of the classic Tiki Bar concept.
Since we at Davis-Ink thrive on creating “funky”, bizarre and W.T.F. environments, we were thrilled to be a part of a team that pushes the boundaries and encourages thinking in a totally non-traditional way.
On a personal level, I have been obsessed with Tiki for the past 25 years with extensive collections of Tiki ash trays, table lamps, glassware and tropical vintage polyester shirts. Therefore “Grass Skirt” immediately became one of the most fun jobs we have ever taken on.
The goal was to create an incredibly fun, positive and socially interactive dream world. An environment that is 100% about fun and celebration. Tiki is about ritual, presentation and the process of preparing and consuming exotic drinks and food. Davis-Ink therefore worked very closely with the bartending and food staff in order to “showcase” the entire experience.
From a design perspective, we wanted to create an authentic Tiki environment in a nontraditional way. We incorporated a fine balance between authentic Tiki and progressive 2016 design. We took classic materials , artifacts and lighting, we then reconfigured them in completely new “never have been seen before” ways.
The following are several examples:
1. The entire back bar wall was designed consisting of classic random orange and red rectangular tile in a vertical brick pattern that flanks a central black Lava rock bottle display. We then created a series of 16 gold plated pineapple head skulls (inside custom front lit wood frames) and placed them in a grid pattern on the orange wall. This created a creepy, cool and highly dramatic “wow factor” feature. The adjacent wall was designed with traditional Tapa cloth and woven reed cloth. In typical Tiki fashion we created a diamond pattern with split bamboo seams. Edison bulbs were then centered within the diamond patterned grid resulting in an extremely contemporary wall feature.
2. In addition, we wanted to incorporate new technology and take advantage of special effects. This approach was integrated into our lighting , sound and fire features. For example, the entrance to Grass Skirt is through a secret refrigerator door located inside the kitchen of an adjoining Poke restaurant. Upon opening the door, fog is released within a lava rock tunnel. A projector then shoots out “hula girl” images that fill the entire entry. Another example would be the central back bar bottle display. At first sight, this appears to be a standard fire feature. However, we have created a hologram system within the opening. A fantastic opportunity for dancing skulls, tiki gods and/or product promotion.
Other “Wow factor” features include a 23 foot tall custom Tiki with V.I.P. seating inside the open mouth, a fifteen foot tall Tiki god fire feature and a 28 ft. wide backlit acrylic wall featuring an erupting volcano, a topless hula girl and a Hawaiian sunset.