Out Of This World
Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Text by Amanda Koellner
Photo by Dina Avilla
Featured Company: Julia Wood Architect
Location: Portland, OR
Project Type: Brewing Company
Project Name: Ecliptic Brewing
When Ecliptic Brewing owner John Harris asked architect Julia Wood to design a clean, modern space with nice color and copious natural light, she took the fact that the concept stemmed from Harris’s passion for both astronomy and brewing beer and made that amalgamation her muse. The restaurant celebrates the journey through the seasons by boasting beer and food menus that rotate every six weeks on the old-world calendar—something that Wood considered in the design. We chatted with her about how she outfitted the 3,000-square-foot restaurant (which falls in a 14,000-square-feet building found thanks to the tireless work of real-estate agent Josh Bean of Doug Bean and Associates) to reflect the interests of its owner.
Design Bureau: Which of Ecliptic Brewing’s design elements make it unique?
Julia Wood: I had the choice to place the restaurant in any part of the larger building. By placing it along the southwest wall and by carving out huge new openings in the wall with dramatic roll-up doors, the pub and dining rooms are now literally part inside and part outside. Dramatic lighting is essential to create a space with lots of moods. During the day, the sun is the showcase, and at night, the custom chandeliers create soft, scalloped lighting that has active bright areas at the communal table and center bar, and snuggly shaded areas in the cozy corners of the upholstered banquette. There are two enormous custom chandeliers: the solar system, which is 16 feet in diameter, and the Annalemma, which is a 54-foot- long, figure-eight-like creation.
DB: Which element of the design are you most proud of?
JW: I am enormously proud of the Annalemma because it took a vision, a bit of randomness, collaboration, and trust in the process to create. First, I knew it would take a lot of nerve and vision to design the lighting solution for this huge, airy space, and I had very little budget to work with. My go-to solution in this kind of predicament is to make something custom instead of using a series of ready-made fixtures. I had a contractor colleague that was removing hundreds of outdated 160-watt Holophane lights from a clean-room renovation, and voila! An idea started to emerge. After obtaining hundreds of these ribbed, polycarbonate Holophane shades, I drew on John’s knowledge of astronomy and began to learn about the Annalemma, which was a short-list name for the brewery.
DB: How did that knowledge come to fruition in the form of the lighting piece?
JW: Fascinated by its lyrical shape, I created a 20-light fixture design and sized it large enough to stitch the pub and dining rooms together, which became 54 by 8 feet. In the end, we produced the fixtures to use about 10 percent of the code-mandated maximum wattage allowance, which allowed us to receive thousands of dollars back from Energy Trust of Oregon.