As the North American Distributor of the Element4 Dutch fireplace line, European Home recognizes beautiful designs. From time to time we get the pleasure of having conversations with the brilliant minds behind some of those designs. This month we sit down with Sky Adler.
Sky Adler is the Senior Director of Architecture and Design for Kona Grill, a fine dining restaurant specializing in sushi and an array of handmade cocktails. One of the first things I noticed when I walked into the new Kona Grill in Minnetonka, MN was how theatrical the whole experience was. A giant blue LED bubble wall greets you for your red-carpet entrance. Over by the bar, the sushi chef is cutting sashimi on his illuminated stage. Finally, as you turn the corner, you are treated to an Element4 eight-foot long see-through gas fireplace which brings drama and warmth to the entire scene.
What has influenced the Kona Grill design aesthetic you have helped develop?
When I came in we wanted to create a complete update to Kona’s image. I completely re-imagined the color palette – bringing in blues, grays and patina coppers to create a signature look. I also wanted to bring in new textures, like tile, concrete, and rusted metal. When you walk into a Kona Grill you can’t help but be reminded of the elements. Fire and water are central to our identity. I let these elements inform nearly all of my decisions from the fireplace to the aquarium to the specific color of the light that permeates the entire space.
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European Home [EH]: Light and color seem very connected in this space. There are lots of different light sources, the aquarium, the LED wall, the fireplace, and I haven’t even mentioned the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. How did you come up with the lighting design for this space?
Sky Adler [SA]: "I think lighting is critical to any space. I actually studied lighting for a whole year just to better understand how it operates. I took a chance with all the blue lighting since it’s well known the color blue is actually an appetite suppressant (laughs) but I think it’s pretty unique for a restaurant. You have to break the rules sometimes."
SA: "I wanted to create different fields of light for different activities. Everything was intentional and the bar is lighted different than the dining area which is lighted different from the lounge where the fireplace really warms up the space, provides a pop and a lot of drama amidst all the blue."
EH: And why did you pick the Tenore 240 by Element4 — a double-sided, see-through fireplace for this space?
SA: "Like I said, I like to create different dining experiences within the same space while maintaining the connectivity and energy throughout. The double sided fireplace allows more visibility between the wall and gives more bang for the buck, allowing a single unit to create two completely different atmospheres on either side. The appeal is to have division between the patio and dining room but still being able to see through to each and have the dynamic fire feature to combine the two."
Patrons can enjoy the warmth of the Tenore 240 by Element 4, wherever they end up in the restaurant.
Always clean, always modern. Robust flames dance atop black quartz fire media.
Sky [Adler] told [European Home] he was particularly proud of his outdoor design for this location. The façade is clean and contemporary, but also manages to be very open and inviting. A project for the books. Install credit goes to All Seasons Fireplace in MN.