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Big Slide Brewery

Imagine that you’re driving down NY-73 in Lake Placid, New York. You see the sign for a pub outside a totally unremarkable, 80’s commercial building in the Adirondack style that dominates the town’s aesthetics. It doesn’t look like much, but you pull over anyway. Now imagine stepping inside, and finding a dynamic space with an urban feel that is nothing like the exterior. Kind of exciting, right? That’s what we envisioned for Big Slide Brewery.

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Big Slide an extension of the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, an edgier offshoot of the original brand that serves an edgier food and drink menu. They wanted a space where they could push the limits of beer-making, and also test the success of their more experimental recipes with patrons at the bar. The interior of the building is huge, but we needed to comfortably fit a full brewery, barrel aging area, kitchen, bar, and restaurant. The challenge here was to designate the separate areas, but keep them cohesive. So we used lighting, seating layout and differences in material and colors to create visual breaks. This sectioned the space in a way that flowed well and felt inviting, rather than overwhelming.

Lake Placid is dominated by Adirondack-style architecture and interior design, and we wanted to create something distinct from that, while still paying homage to the local style. An example is the front bar treatment. We covered the front bar with plywood and painted it white in messy strokes to add texture. In front of that, we laid 1 inch strips of pine wood, creating an image of a mountain range— specifically the Great Range that includes the Big Slide peak for which the bar is named. The strips of wood were of varying depths, proportionate to the height of the mountain peaks. This gave the entire front bar an undulating, three-dimensional effect. We feel that it establishes the bar as a dominant feature in a multi-function space, and are happy with the result.

The edgier character of the space is furthered by our choice of materials. Spray-cast charcoal concrete, blackened zinc panel plating, and vertical shiplap give the interior an urban-industrial feel. In order to maintain authenticity, we repurposed local materials as well. The restaurant tables are actually refinished science tables salvaged from the near by high school, and the bathroom dividers are repurposed antique doors. These pieces seem dated on their own, but feel modern when combined with the newly introduced design features. We also salvaged materials from the waste we created on-site. From the scrap pieces of zinc left over from cutting the wall panels, we bent the metal ribbons and folded it over itself, creating the form for a light fixture inspired by the work of Tara Donovan. The fixture sits just below the lights in the entryway, and the zinc functions as a diffuser to shoot light in every direction. The result is a stunning display that communicates the bar’s aesthetics to visitors as soon as they enter, and sets the tone for the rest of the space.

Our vibrant, dynamic design helped establish the updated brand identity, and transformed the plain, 1980s commercial building into an energetic space that customers love to be a part of. ∆

Olivia Tubio