I have been doing production design and art for reality shows for 10 years. Time and time again I have been given impossible deadlines with small budgets and limited resources. Each time I have found ways to maximize these elements to deliver unique and exciting solutions to design problems. One of my favorite concepts came to me when I walked into the Abbey in Chicago, IL on season 1 of Bar Rescue. The building had two sides, one had a stage, balcony seating, and a bar and the other side had a high ceiling, bar, kitchen, and additional dining room. It was a lot of space to address so we agreed that I would redesign the bar/kitchen side and outdoor patio. Jon Taffer wanted to rename this side of the building “the green room @” so customers would utilize this space before, during, and after musical performances in the adjacent concert hall.
I got to work photographing the area to be renovated. Originally all lighting pointed down in the main room but when I shined a flashlight up I discovered the existing tin ceiling was a rich emerald green. With Jon’s new name in mind, I chose to call out uplighting and create a focal point to draw customers view up to the beautiful ceiling. When we walked into the small dining room I discovered someone had used cymbals for wall sconces and small drums for flush mount ceiling light covers. I decided then and there what the ceiling needed in the bar. It would be the perfect conversation piece and it would provide the visual focal point I needed to draw attention to the ceiling.
Thankfully my set decorator and I found a wooden drum kit on Craigslist, my carpenter was a drummer so he knew how to properly set up the kit, my art department coordinator shopped with me for the light pendants and was very handy with rigging, Lincoln Electric loaned me a welding machine, plasma cutter, and a welder to help me make the frame, and we put together one of my favorite designs in television. The drum kit chandelier.