The transformation of an empty lot and one story garage into Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar was remarkably successful. Since opening in the fall of 2000, the owners have gone on to open several more Cuba Libre venues. PZS Architects is the architect of record, and Kevin Hale of the Baltimore firm Dynamic Imagineering designed the theatrical "Cuba Wall." Gardner designed the restaurant interiors, lighting, millwork and collaborated with Hale on the facade. Several years after the restaurant opened, Gardner designed the popular raised sidewalk deck for the restaurant.
Images provided by Cuba Libre. All rights reserved.
Cuba Libre Facade
Cuba Libre Dining Room
Cuba Libre's dining room recreates a courtyard in Old Havana. Salvaged architectural millwork like windows and shutters were combined with new construction.
Second Floor Dining Room
An oasis of Vietnamese French Colonial charm built from the shell of a 7,000 square foot Italian Restaurant. We designed every aspect of the restaurant, from the custom lamps on the bar to the neon sign on the exterior. In collaboration with the owner, we re-designed the entire kitchen and service area.
Street Vendor, Saigon. Photograph by Jesse Gardner
Stock light fixture with custom diffuser glass
The Studio specializes in customized commercial kitchens and service areas. This is the engine that drives every restaurant operation, and our ability to manaage multiple functions and utilities in tight spaces is appreciated by chefs and owners.
Teikoku transformed an windowless box on the highway to a warm temple of culinary delights, a welcome respite for the weary traveler.
Images provided by Kevin Loreaux: http://kevinloreaux.com/
Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream is a highly functional ice cream production space that had very strict parameters as it is located in a rowhome sized commercial ground floor on historic Kensington Avenue, in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. We worked closely with neighborhood stakeholders and the client team to secure zoning and building permits in a timely and cost effective process.
"We assigned Jesse what I now recognize was an impossible task, but he made it happen! Despite a significantly compressed timeline and constrained resources, Jesse jumped every hurdle in front of him and completed his end of our project with enthusiasm and vigor. His vision and expertise was critical in helping us beat the odds to get where we are today. "
Pete Angevine, Little Baby's Ice Cream
Images provided by: Jesse J. Gardner
The second floor deck renovation with the spectacular "bridge" truss system was designed by RKM Architects. We came on board after the completion of this design, to coordinate the team of fabricators and installers and worked directly for the client to coordinate the deck expansion project. We created Sketchup renderings and hand sketches to help the fabricators and installers understand the complex geometry of the site, located on a pre-Revolutionary crossroads in Northern Liberties. The roof trusses were fabricated by blacksmith Warren Holzman using WWII era hot rivet techniques. The General Contractor was Drew Miller.
We went on to design and project manage a residential roof top addition and the gable overhang and the re-cladding of the entire roof and dormers with standing seam copper. We directed the general contractor in the construction of multiple mockups in order to ensure client satisfaction with the gable extensions.
Gable Extension Sketch
Due to the building's complex footprint, there were several acute angles to consider at the eaves and gable peak. We worked out as much of the complex geometry as we could in CAD and Sketchup, and the contractor built multiple mockups during the process.
This project is a multi-year effort, as we transform a 110,000 sf facility one piece at a time. Phase 1 included a complete overhaul of the public space, including the retrofitting of a passenger elevator. The goal is to update accessibility and bring the facility up to current codes while revamping the aging interiors. The initial images show views of the new two-story entrance lobby, which we carved out of an existing 2nd floor Prefunction space. Gone are the low popcorn ceilings and claustrophobic spaces. We raised the low ceiling by engineering new roof trusses and creating a tray ceiling, which is clad in traditional ornamental plaster.
The images that follow are of the new Women's Lounge, followed by the Men's Lounge. Both involved completely gutting the existing rooms and starting over.
Phase 2 has us putting a new ballroom on the roof, and revamping an existing 2nd floor ballroom for a Prefunction Room. We also shoehorned in a small Bridal Suite and an Accessible Restroom.
The Manor is a much beloved institution which has served generations of families for weddings and other significant life events and we are honored to be charged with such an ambitious makeover.
The images shown here are snapshots that I took as the project has progressed. We will be adding professional photos in the near future, as we complete Phases 1 & 2.
Tacos El Tio
A Mexican Restaurant under construction, for which we are providing the concept, interior design, and permit drawings. The former auto parts store is being transformed into a Mexican street scene, complete with a food truck.
Vietnam Cafe - 1
This intimate modern cafe proved so popular that two years after we complete the project, the owner opened a much larger venue around the corner.