D+K Architects Cuvee Savoy Estate restaurant and bar design

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Above and two below: The Savoy restaurant in Wicker Park

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Above: Cuvée nightclub in River North

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Above and below: Estate Ultra Bar

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Chicago hotspots designed by D+K (clockwise from top left): Estate Ultra Bar in Goose Island; The Savoy restaurant in Wicker Park, and Cuvée nightclub in River North.

Restaurant and Bar Design | Family Guys

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

By Heidi Kulicke
Photos by Jacob Clary

Chicago-based D+K Architects is a driving force in the city’s nightlife scene, designing many of its trendy new bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. But founders Corey Dunne and Paul Kozlowski are not the club-going types—they’re family men. “We laugh about it all the time,” says Dunne. “Here we are, with kids running around everywhere, designing some of the hottest clubs in the city.”

Just how did two dedicated dads end up designing the city’s hottest bachelor hangouts? It happened by accident, says Dunne. The duo started out in commercial and residential architecture and design, receiving most of their work through referrals. Then one of their commercial real estate clients referred the team to a college friend who wanted to open a nightclub. “One thing led to another, and here we are,” Dunne says.

With more than 40 hospitality projects under their belt or in progress, Dunne and Kozlowski are now experts in the design of hip hotspots, including Cuvée, Estate Ultra Bar, and The Savoy. Surprisingly, in an industry of excess, they advocate restraint when it comes to design. “In hospitality, showing restraint can be difficult,” says Dunne. “Our goal is to create a backdrop for the center of attention, the people.”

Accordingly, for nightclub Cuvée the team installed a VIP area in the center of the space and more or less turned it into a stage where clubgoers can see and be seen. In general, they are careful to make sure that there are no dead spots in their designs, Dunne says. “We have to make sure that no matter where you’re at, you feel like you are in the middle of the action.”

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