We're back with the second half of our exploration into the design of Better Half, the modern diner that was missing in your life. Chioco Design is responsible for the distinctive architecture of the space and likely- so much more. We're chatting with them about problem solving constraints and working as a creative team.
Was the design of BH referencing any other favorite spaces or was it all about 406 Walsh?
The project is really a reflection of the sensibilities those involved in the design process. What you might not know is that this is just the first part of the entire project which will culminate in us renovating the Quonset hut next door into a brewery with an exterior court yard that connects them. There will be more significant design moves that were decided in the early masterplanning phase of the project. For instance, we really wanted these spaces (Better Half and Hold Out Brewery) to speak to each other. Their proximity to each other gave us this opportunity by designing glass facades that face each other and offer the maximum amount of transparency. So, yes the project is very site specific to 406 Walsh.
How do you work out the flow of the space? Is it highly planned or organic?
The spaces are highly planned as the programmatic requirements were so complicated as most restaurants are. This project has many parts, a kitchen, bar, cafe, coffee shop, restrooms, patio and making sure we met all these requirements with an efficient layout was paramount.
What spurred the idea for the DQ service window?
The service window has to do with the owners wish to serve the patio without customers having to reenter the main space. We always imagined that the patio would be a highly populated space especially with Austin’s love of outdoor spaces.
Better Half has a massive live oak on the property, can you tell us about how you worked with it?
The live oak is beautiful and flawed at the same time. Our goal was to protect it to ensure it’s continued growth by removing some of the impervious cover in it’s proximity. By removing much of the existing asphalt we are giving it a better chance to flourish.
Can you speak for a moment about working as a team on a creative project? How do your individual strengths play out?
In this case everybody seemed to be on the same page aesthetically so that’s always beneficial to its success. The owners were great with their input on all things but especially how the space needed to function, flow, and operate. There was a true collaboration on many of the interior finishes and details. What we loved about this project was getting to work out ideas with both Lilianne and the owners.
In this particular situation we designed the building and worked with the client on an effective an efficient floor plan as well as all the big design moves like the bar and wood furr-down, steel windows and window wall that faces the giant oak. Someone that deserves credit is Mikel Bennett from my office. She was instrumental not only in design but in the execution with her efforts and communication with the General Contractor. By the way, Havens Construction did a great job as well.
Do you have a tip for other creative teams?
A tip is to be open to ideas and to understand everyone’s talents and capabilities. Once you know that then you can navigate the complexities that are inevitable.
Favorite food on the menu?
They have an incredible burger and the pastrami is off the charts!
FELIZ Spring 2018 is May 6th 11-6pm, swing by the Palm Door on Sabine to see some of our favorite designers, sip on a drink and have a relaxing Sunday.