When Bob Szuter moved back home to Columbus from Chicago to open his dream restaurant, he turned to CCAD and its students to help realize his vision—Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, a family owned craft brewery-meets-eatery steeped in homegrown decor and business practices.
“The concept [of the restaurant] is centered on the idea that by focusing on craft and locally sourced products as much as possible, we are staying true to our primary goal of supporting and emulating the community in which we reside,” reads the Wolf’s Ridge Brewing website.
With its affinity for all things local, the budding restaurant was a perfect partner for the MindMarket program at CCAD. The MindMarket connects organizations with student talent, allowing the organizations to gain from the students’ fresh ideas and the students to glean invaluable real-world experience.
Thirteen Interior Design juniors were brought in to participate in a three-week charrette during the spring semester. They walked through the space, developed concepts as a class, then proposed three different design concepts to Szuter and his family: Raw and Vintage, Modern and Rustic, and Vintage and Fun.
The students’ millennial mindset and strong personal interests in sustainability informed all three concepts.
“They were all spot-on,” said Allen Szuter, Bob’s father and a co-owner of Wolf’s Ridge Brewing. “They were really able to capture the essence of what we wanted to do.”
In the end, the owners selected parts of all three concepts to create the final look.
The space is much brighter and more open than the owners’ original vision of a classic, dark-wooded English pub. A subtle white two-tone finish covers the painted brick walls, and several areas spotlight the restaurant’s logo colors, including pops of blue, yellow, brown, red, and orange on the wooden tap handles and purse hooks at the bar.
Specific student ideas are throughout: Tall cushions along the benched seating add color and texture and absorb sound; arched windows carry over historic design elements from the original space; and pendant lighting hangs from the ceiling in the main dining area.
In the bar area, wooden tap handles, foot rests made from gas piping, and purse hooks made from antique knobs were all derived from student designs. A vintage host’s stand inside the front door and recycled wood throughout the space also represent student ideas presented to the owners.
The owners took their own interest in sustainability to the next level by crafting all of the restaurant’s lighting fixtures and hickory tables by hand.
Kelly DeVore, assistant professor of Interior Design, said the project gave students a valuable opportunity to work closely with a real client.
“The students were able to research local materials, talk about sustainable and reused materials, and think critically about how the environment could be created with real budget constraints and real project goals,” DeVore said.
“Engaging students in real projects that tackle local concerns and issues is so valuable and not able to be recreated in the studio,” DeVore added. “Being able to see the project evolve, develop, and be built while they are in school is an experience they will not forget.”
It all culminated when the students were invited to have dinner at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing on Nov. 26 and enjoy the space that they helped to create.
Though some students were skeptical at first about the time constraints of the project, Interior Design senior Hannah Howard said she loved the challenge.
“Having the opportunity to work with Wolf’s Ridge [Brewing] has been one my best experiences at CCAD,” Howard said. “The real-life application brought a new dimension to my design thinking.”
Participating students included Interior Design seniors Jenna Ackroyd from Columbus, OH (Westerville South High School), Xiujun (Fino) Fan from Wenzhou Zhejiang, China (Wenzhou No. 22 Senior Middle School), Abby Figlestahler from Minford, OH (Minford High School), Courtney Gula from Dayton, OH (Ursuline Academy), Amber Halley from Columbus, OH (Franklin Heights High School), Hannah Howard from Delware, OH (Buckeye Valley High School), Hillary Hutchings from Garrettsville, OH (James A. Garfield High School), Valerie Kelley from Westerville, OH (Westerville South High School), Marie Lisman from Westerville, OH (Westerville South High School), Chelsea McGuire from Wharton, OH (Upper Sandusky High School), Zach Schumacher from Marshalltown, IA (Shelby Senior High School), Michelle Soesanto from Columbus, OH, and Carolyn Zurawka from Beavercreek, OH (Beavercreek High School).
Tags: Abby Figlestahler, Allen Szuter, Amber Halley, Beavercreek High School, Beavercreek OH, Bob Szuter, Buckeye Valley High School, Carolyn Zurawka, Chelsea McGuire, class of 2014, Columbus OH, Courtney Gula, Dayton OH, Delaware OH, faculty & staff news, Franklin Heights High School, Garrettsville OH, Hannah Howard, Hillary Hutchings, interior design, James A. Garfield High School, Jenna Ackroyd, Kelly DeVore, Marie Lisman, Marshalltown IA, Michelle Soesanto, MindMarket, Minford High School, Minford OH, Shelby Senior High School, student news, Upper Sandusky High School, Ursuline Academy, Valerie Kelley, Wenzhou China, Wenzhou No.22 Senior Middle School, Westerville South High School, Wharton OH, Wolf's Ridge Brewing, Xiujun Fan, Zach Schumacher
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