A Driftwood Cafe Adventure

As designers we are often inspired by a fabric, a color, or a room’s feeling, but sometimes we like to take to take inspiration one step further…

This project began when design assistant Nicole Fransen was working with designer Cindy Munn on an over-flow cafe space for the Lowcountry Community Church in Bluffton, SC.  The proposed name of the space (“The Driftwood Cafe”) made Nicole curious to explore the form and essence of driftwood… how does nature form it? are there patterns in the random twists and turns of the wood’s figuring?

“I didn’t want to think of driftwood literally,” Nicole explained, “I thought of how driftwood is created rough and interesting by its journey… and that’s kind of how we are formed as people too…”

The concept led to a logo design, and the logo translated into a dramatic feature wall. But they weren’t sure what the center piece should be….

For such a time as this, it is good to know someone in the business of interesting materials. Timberstone was the perfect company to consult. They specialize in reclaimed and/or antique building materials. When the J Banks designers showed their sketch to Tom from Timberstone, he had an idea!

He had a giant trunk (8 feet in diameter) in Venezuela. What if they used a center slice out of the tree? BRILLIANT!

The next problem they faced was how to cut a slice out of it without breaking it?

The best option seemed to be a two man hand saw… you know, Paul Bunyan style!  For this task Tom called his Amish friend Dan Raber. Dan worked at the hand saw for about an hour before giving up and switching to a chain saw. That did the trick!

Now the beautiful slice has been shipped from Venezuela to Savannah. It is in place and ready to be installed. We can’t wait to see the finished product!!  When you see the end result, you will know the story behind it…

Inspiration can take us down roads we never dreamed of before… we hope you enjoyed this little walk down Designer Adventure Avenue!



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