July 2017

Considerations in Commercial Design

When it comes to commercial design, one size does not fit all. Every project is unique, with its own style, brand and function to consider. While there is no cookie-cutter solution, one can approach each project with a philosophy that guides the design. The core of the philosophy is functionality, around which the various other elements of commercial design will take their cues.

Typically, Graham Reese Design Group’s clients seek an upscale, boutique feel in which rich materials, understated design elements and sophisticated lighting are prominent. Regardless of the scale of the project, a business’s fundamental purpose will serve as the launching pad for our job of interpreting their brand identity in a physical space. After the primary function has been determined, we are tasked with making the space serviceable as well as visually pleasing.

Exceptional commercial design will result in an innovative and inviting branded environment with minimal wasted space. Appropriately laid-out corridors that make navigation easy is vital for customer experience. Design that is conducive to employee productivity is also imperative. Graham Reese Design Group likes utilizing glass where possible to take advantage of the benefits of natural light, which are not only aesthetic but also known to play a part in worker efficiency. Additionally, it is wise to consider incorporating areas that allow people to gather by providing employees with perceived “support spaces” in which coworkers can congregate.

Finally, but certainly not last, Graham Reese Design Group places an emphasis on creating a signature lobby. It is not only a customer’s first impression, but it also marks the beginning of an enterprise’s entire space and sets the tone for the experience one can expect beyond the lobby. If commercial design is executed properly, the foundation of functionality will naturally support a business’s personality as expressed through its brand story.

The Best Seat in the House: Agave Maria

Location, location, location. You hear that phrase time and again in regard to real estate, but in terms of restaurants and bars? Why not? The best seat in the house is prime real estate in a popular eatery or watering hole – only the location doesn’t affect price, just a patron’s experience. Whether the best table provides an excellent vantage point from which to see and be seen or is tucked into a romantic nook, those who score premier seating will feel like the most important people in the place.

At Agave Maria in Downtown Memphis, Graham Reese Design Group created a branded environment that interpreted the restaurant owner’s vision of “Tijuana Chic” – an elevated dining experience in a funky, authentic atmosphere. With details like tufted leather, splashes of fuschia and a taxidermied bull overlooking the dining room, Agave Maria sets itself apart from the typical Tex-Mex restaurant both on the plate and in the decor.

Within this relatively small “kitchen and cantina” are several spots that can be considered best in the house: three booths in the front and the booth in the back provide views of the bar and dining room, as well as the activity of a bustling downtown seen through the windows facing Union Avenue. The high booths are comfortable and intimate, which encourages longer visits, and illuminated by handmade pendant lights from Mexico that make the food look as amazing as it tastes. The wide tables provide elbow room, and comfortably accommodate larger groups meeting up for happy hour. Elevated a step above the floor tables, the booths also provide patrons a measure of privacy while dining and people-watching.

Graham Reese Design Group gave personality to a space by executing their client’s vision for an authentic yet hip experience. The attention to detail ensures that, while there’s not a bad table in the place, customers who get the best seat(s) in the house will feel like VIPs.

Best Seat in the House: Local on the Square

Restaurant and bar design specialists are tasked with balancing flow and function in a space’s layout, so who better to reveal the best seat in the house than these pros? Graham Reese Design Group has been designing restaurants and related hospitality projects for over 22 years, so they truly have the inside track to some of the best seats in Memphis. If they tell you, for instance, where you’ll find the best seats at Local on the Square, then you know you won’t be disappointed if you head right to the ground-floor bar the next time you visit.

Local’s first-floor bar is not simply a waiting room where you pass the time until your table is ready elsewhere. It is the place for folks who want to Eat and Drink Like a Local in Memphis to see and be seen. Views of the room and patio and a community table located nearby make the seats at the bar the house’s choicest spots.

The easily-accessible U-shaped bar provides an excellent vantage point for people-watching as well as engaging with other patrons. There are no corners, just an organic flow that has stood the test of time in barroom design. The wrap-around bar provides customers the opportunity to watch their bartender in action; likewise the customers are always front-and-center as the bartender never has his or her back to anyone while working within the U. Patrons who wish for less interaction with fellow tipplers might choose a seat at either end of the U. If you enjoy getting to know your neighbors, a spot in the middle enables interaction left and right and naturally facilitates conversations, if you are so inclined.

Head upstairs if you are looking for a more cozy spot to sip and socialize. The comfy lounge chairs by the fireplace provide an excellent view of Madison Avenue and Overton Square, as well as a great position from which to watch the game of the day on television. Score one of these premiere spots and Happy Hour just got a whole lot happier.

Generally speaking, the best spots in a bar or restaurant are a matter of personal preference. But interior architecture is deliberate, so trust the experts at Graham Reese Design Group and belly up to bar or claim a lounge chair upstairs the next time you head to Local’s Midtown location.