Beneath a skylight and atop a simple pine table sits a plate of rabbit, raised on a local farm and, now, delicately braised with white wine. Alongside, a helping of gnocchi mingles with freshly picked herbs and spring peas. Food such as this celebrates all that is regional and sustainable and deserves a setting so fitting and comfortable that one might call it habitat. Such is the design concept for Miller Union. Conceived as a modern farm-to-table translation, the design bridges rustic and urban with unique intimacy.
Set in a former warehouse, Miller Union is carved into a series of dining rooms, each with individual personality and perspective. Floor to ceiling cabinetry, steel and weathered wood weave in and out of each room, varying in function and interpretation. This is exemplified from the entry and bar-area, with its weathered wood backdrop constructed of recycled snow fencing, and beyond to the 16-seat Pantry Room, named for its high ceilings, skylights, and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. “We wanted to challenge the growing trend of the large single room restaurant scene and get back to human scale,” said Joe Remling, partner at ai3.
Hallways and rooms meander as if in a farmhouse, yielding an evolving translation of the modern-rustic approach. From the outside looking in, a wall of windows invites a view of the communal Wine Room. Inside, industrial pendant lamps cast a warm glow over a pair of pine farm tables. Behind them, the signature whitewashed cabinetry, showcasing Miller Union’s wine collection, rises from concrete floors. From the Wine Room, a passageway leads to the Pantry Room and houses a pair of quiet booths. Across a corridor from the Pantry Room, is the Library Room. The largest of Miller Union’s rooms, the Library Room seats 26, yet maintains the comfort of the smaller rooms with rich upholstery and wall sconces.
ai3 conceived of a space for Miller Union that would bridge farm and table. The resulting experience not only blends the two influences, but also reinforces the idea that rustic and urban environments can intertwine effortlessly and with timeless sophistication.