Revival’s New, Yet Historical, Restaurant Design in Bellefontaine, Ohio
A look at Revival’s Restaurant Design with The Syndicate in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Designing with Passion and Purpose | Inspiration from Revival’s Restaurant Design with The Syndicate in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Sometimes, when you begin a project, you realize the location’s history will guide your design where it was always meant to go. This was the case when we began design for The Syndicate restaurant in Bellefontaine, Ohio. The Syndicate is a new building, constructed on the site of the old Jackson’s News Stand. Originally opened in 1922 as an outlet for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the newsstand had several owners in its early days. In 1946, Warren and Jo Jackson took ownership and operated Jackson’s News Stand for the next 47 years. Although the structure was demolished long ago, our clients wanted to pay homage to the history of the site as a place that became much more than a newsstand — it was a Logan County institution where members of the community would gather to shop and socialize.
To begin a project of this scope, we start by asking tons of questions. Some are more focused on functionality — How many guests would you like to accommodate? What are your kitchen and bar equipment needs? How flexible does the space need to be for different types of events? Others are more focused on style — What’s your story? How do you want guests to feel while dining? What type of image do you want to portray? What’s going to be on the menu? In the case of the Syndicate, researching the history of the site would also be crucial to our design. This is done by gathering information from the library, the historical society, and most importantly, local people. When talking to those who remember these businesses and buildings, we treasure hearing the stories, memories, and history as remembered by past owners and patrons.
After our research, it was obvious that the entire brand, The Syndicate, needed to be thoughtfully structured around the newsstand theme: The bar is encompassed by a replica iron newsstand with Luxfer prism glass, salvaged from another downtown Bellefontaine building that had been demolished; A vintage Jackson’s News Stand lit sign was incorporated into the back patio design; Museum-quality, original newspaper articles are artfully framed and displayed throughout the restaurant; Custom signage reading “Extra, Extra!” and “The Front Page” add fun to the space and remind guests of the history of the site.
The wall adjacent to the host stand is entirely covered with a custom wallpaper featuring historical news articles originally printed in the Bellefontaine Examiner (the local newspaper). We worked with the owner and the Logan County History Museum to gather as many news articles and advertisements as possible and then selected ones that were either historically significant or visually interesting. We partnered with a local design and print shop to carefully scan each delicate piece, artfully arranged them, and print and install the custom wallpaper.
Another challenge to be met in architecture and design is how to make a space beautiful and functional simultaneously. Every single aesthetic decision involves deep thought in terms of functionality. An example specifically for this restaurant design would be acoustics. At The Syndicate, we knew that minimizing noise was a top priority for the owner, so early on we brought in an acoustics consultant to run calculations and help us find a thoughtful acoustical treatment solution that was within the project budget. The final outcome were three-dimensional acoustical ceiling tiles, applied to the underside of the structure in the dining room to absorb noise and reduce echo. Not only do they look great, but the moment those panels went up during construction, everyone on the job site noticed a significant improvement in sound quality within the space. This could be easily applied to residential design through things like adding rugs to the floor, or hanging curtains.
Another factor at the forefront when making aesthetic decisions is the durability and clean-ability of items — you can select the most beautiful tile backsplash, dining room chair, or custom light fixture, but none of that matters if it breaks in six months or is impossible to clean. We sought frequent input from The Syndicate team, the contractors, the vendors, and the developers in regard to cleaning products that were going to be used in the space, the desired longevity for finishes and furniture, and their comfort level in maintaining and repairing custom features.
Whether you find yourself in a position where you’re designing a restaurant, or you’re just trying to redesign your home, the same basic tenets apply. Design with purpose and passion, and you will end up finding where you were always meant to go.
The fundamental challenge common to all developers is execution — the savvy selection of the physical location, the alignment of brand and environmental design, and the orchestration of the build-out. Revival offers a better way to carry out our client’s vision through market research, deep collaboration, and multidisciplinary team-based approach. The result is distinctive brands and spaces that are delivered with white-glove service.
As a team, Revival believes in a collaborative approach to design. We are a team of story tellers, problem solvers, and dream makers. We believe in inclusivity, accessibility, and that being genuine and hospitable with others will make us all successful and happy.