PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES FLORIO
Year Completed: 2019
Location: Dairy Block - 1800 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80202
Client: Blanchard Family Wines
Collaborators: LVTD design, Symmetry Builders
The unique qualities of this project are present in the application of the traditional industrial materials UNUM wanted to build on McWhinney's concept for The Dairy Block, which is meant to turn a non-public access way (the alley) into an outdoor pedestrian retail and food/beverage destination, by connecting Blake Street and the Alley through the Windsor Dairy building. We also had the fortune of being involved in the design of Blake Adam's space to the southeast of BFW. When we found out that the winery would be taking the space between the Denver Flea and the alley, we all thought it would be an excellent opportunity to make that connection. Building on that programmatic link, the ceiling over the bar, the wine rack, and the stair between BFW and Denver Flea serve as visual nodes and physical pathways.
The ceiling's triangular tesselation and linear wood patterning takes inspiration from the rolling hills of the California wineries lined with rows of grapevines. The sculptural ceiling cloud serves as both an aesthetic and functional element of the design. Not only does it act as a hierarchical device, illuminating the bar area while lowering the scale of the space, it is also constructed of sound absorbing materials, helping reduce noise levels against the surrounding reflective industrial surfaces. This all aids to create a more intimate experience for the occupants. The wood and steel ceiling panels transition vertically to function as a wine rack display that abuts the stairway connection between the upper and lower spaces. Customers who are walking along the stair are able to see glimpses of the winery space through the slatted wood wall, adding a playful visual dance to the circulation between the two levels. The dark color palette of the winery offers a subdued contrast to the white tones of the upper level retail space, while allowing the white ash furniture and existing brick to pop. The project attempts to find a balance by infusing clean modern elements into a historic industrial space.