A Sense of Place

Barriba Cantina Table Lamp ChandeliersBecky often gives me grief about not turning things off when we’re out somewhere.  When I walk through a parking lot I am looking at the lane layout, the slopes, the drainage structures and drainage patterns.  When we’re sitting in a restaurant or someone’s home, I’m looking at the details of how the trim was completed, the lights that were used and the lighting patterns that were created.  I can usually tell whether someone else was thinking of these things or whether they where haphazardly done.  A lot of these things I file away for future reference and they will appear in some incarnation in a future project if it’s something I liked.  I’ve always believed the adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

Becky had an Audiology Conference in San Antonio last month and I met her for the weekend.  We spent a lot of that time on the River Walk.  For those you you not familiar with it, the River Walk is a restaurant district on an Oxbow of the San Antonio River in downtown San Antonio.  The River Walk restaurants are generally one floor below street level opening out onto the River Walk with patio dining.  In many cases you are walking through the tables as you follow the walk along the river.  I am currently working with a client that has plans for a outdoor dining patio, so of course I was paying attention to the uses of railings, pavement surfaces and table options.

Hard Rock Cafe San Antonio Guitar HandrailOne of our favorite places to visit in the evenings was the Barriba Cantina.  They have live blues bands every evening and a combination of open air inside dining and outdoor patio dining.  The picture above right is of their unique ceiling lighting where they have hung table lamps upside down as chandeliers.  This has been done in a grouping to form more of an artsy collage as much as to provide actual lighting.  While this is a little more Kitschy thank I would usually prefer, it was interesting and fit the motif.  Barriba’s is next door to the Hard Rock Cafe’.  They have a railing system shaped like guitars.  (see picture to right) which I took a picture of from Barriba’s patio.

I always recommend that my clients think about the spaces they are in and what they like and don’t like about them.  I tell them to take pictures of what they like and try to put into words what makes that space comfortable.  It helps me help them create spaces of their own they like.  What is the “sense of place” you get makes it comfortable.

The River Walk is a destination I would recommend.  Along with the restaurant district on the oxbow, there is an extensive system of paths along the river that make for pleasant walks.  We’ve also visited the Alamo which is adjacent to the River Walk and this trip we spent sometime in Hemisfair Park which has some very interesting fountains. (see left) It is someplace we will most likely go again.

River Walk Picture Source:  USA Today

Hemisfair Park Picture Source:  Flickr

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