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The design team at ai3 pushed aside their drawing boards and built the restaurantís interior on-site with cardboard at full size. They examined and walked through different operational, service and patron experiences to understand what they would subsequently reinvent.

The AJC showcases ai3's process and full scale mock-up created for Chef Kevin Gillespie's new concept, Gunshow. Watch it here!

Atlanta native Kevin Gillespie is a celebrated chef, a cookbook author and a fan favorite celebrity from Bravoís Top Chef Season Six. With the launch of Gunshow, in Atlantaís Glenwood Park, heís also become a restaurateur. Gillespie is known for challenging ideas and pushing limits, and with Gunshow, heís taking on the idea of fine dining. A tattooed and brassy southern boy with a resume that includes fine dining establishments from across the U.S., Gillespie saw Gunshow as his chance to approach fine dining from a different angle while paying homage to good Southern food. To build it, he needed a team of designers and architects that could share his vision. He decided that ai3 was the only choice.

The idea behind Gunshow was to deconstruct the fine-dining experience and reintroduce patrons to food. In order to make a clean break from preconceptions, the design team at ai3 pushed aside their drawing boards and built the restaurantís interior on-site with cardboard at full size. They examined and walked through different operational, service and patron experiences to understand what they would subsequently reinvent.

To the naked eye, Gunshow is a no-frills space where the chef and guests are in one big room together. There are no partitions between Gillespie and his guests, there is only the kitchen and tables. The experience is like raw, dinner theatre. The chef and staff are exposed, everyone is engaged in the eveningís cuisine, and this is precisely how Gillespie envisioned it would be. He serves small plates dim sum style, on a rolling cart. Wait and kitchen staff interact with diners while they push carts from table to table.

While the layout appears simple, ai3 was thoughtful to design subtle details that would allow the Gunshow concept to thrive. The entire restaurant is a series of 2-tops arranged in wide rows to give ample room for carts to move freely about. A series of custom table leaves allows Gunshow to seat parties of any size. They are as simple and unrefined as the rest of Gunshow, but they are also a cleverly practical way to add surface space and flexibility to the seating.

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