Awarded 4 stars from the Miami Herald, Plant Food + Wine features cutting edge, plant-based cuisine and needed lighting to complement that sustainable vibe.
[dropcap style=”letter” size=”52″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]N[/dropcap]estled amid the Wynwood Arts District, The Sacred Space Miami™ – described as “a space for personal growth and transformation” – is also home to a unique vegetarian eatery called Plant Food + Wine featuring a menu from the adjacent Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, which has been recognized by Food & Wine magazine as one of the best resources for plant-based cooking classes in the world with schools in Venice, Calif.; Belfast, Maine; Mallorca; London; Paris; Barcelona; and Sydney, Australia.
Other like-minded co-habitants of The Sacred Space are the curated, holistic lifestyle boutique Flow – which also teaches its signature spiritual movement practice called Prayerdanse – and The Garden, a place to gather and reflect.
An iconic setting for private events, The Sacred Space Miami is available to host wellness events, workshops, social celebrations, and corporate functions. It is within this environment that Plant Food + Wine flourishes, with a vibrant menu that blends innovative technique with seasonal, local produce, and includes many of chef Kenney’s classic raw food dishes. Miami’s tropical climate and its broad cultural influences are ideally suited for the restaurant’s clean, Modernist approach.
The overall ambiance of the community necessitated restaurant design that would embrace sustainable practices. Plant Food + Wine’s dining room features an airy, Contemporary-style environment offering a full view of the bright exhibition kitchen, as well as an extensive bar serving juices and detox beverages, cocktails based on seasonal ingredients, and a broad list of organic wine and sake.
When it came to the lighting for the restaurant, the architect of record Rene Gonzalez Architect of Miami called upon the New York City-based domestic lighting manufacturer Stickbulb to create custom fixtures that would enhance the space.
“We first connected with Rene Gonzalez during a visit to Art Basel Miami, where we presented some designs from our launch collection of floor and table lamps,” notes Claire McGovern of Stickbulb. “We proposed an office presentation to introduce the collection and our custom capabilities. His office contacted us a few months later expressing their interest in a custom large-scale version of the Sky Bang chandelier. Eventually, both Rene and the client visited our New York studio to see a mock-up of the custom Sky Bang – and the project was born.”
Stickbulb was co-founded in 2012 by RUX Founder and Creative Director Russell Greenberg and partner Christopher Beardsley. Inspired by a pile of long linear wooden cut-offs in their workshop, RUX designers challenged themselves to develop a truly sustainable lighting system. As a starting point, they only considered designs that could be manufactured locally and affordably within a five-mile radius of their New York City office. They chose to use reclaimed and sustainably sourced woods as a primary building material and sourced energy-efficient LED technologies and components. The company’s collections are designed with the least number of parts possible and with connections that make the pieces easy to separate for maintenance, recycling, or reuse. The wooden beams come in one- to six-foot lengths and are designed to plug into and out of various steel hardware connectors without tools. The result is a light-up erector set of interchangeable components that allows for customization and creativity.
“I believe part of the appeal of Stickbulb to Rene is firstly the Minimalist qualities of many designs in our collection. Although some of our pieces – such as the X collection – are more complex in form, other designs such as the single pendant are decidedly Minimalist,” notes McGovern. “Secondly, I would cite the warmth and general aesthetic appeal of reclaimed or sustainably sourced wood in our lighting designs, not to mention the energy-efficiency of LEDs. Thirdly, the custom capabilities of the Stickbulb line is something that many architects and designers gravitate toward. Unlike some lighting manufacturers, we really do encourage and welcome custom requests and it’s clear to see that the basic building block of Stickbulb lends itself to a lot of custom creativity.”
Custom paint or wood stain finishes on the bulb are pretty easy to achieve for Stickbulb and Rene Gonzalez had a very specific custom color request for this project.
“Dining out is an experiential, sensorial experience and lighting is critical to creating the right ambience for both patrons and the presentation of food. From the outset, we wanted to find a chandelier that had an organic, branch-like quality. With Stickbulb as a partner, we developed custom chandeliers that hover over the tables like branches of a tree. In a nod to Miami and to enliven the space, we customized the lights by painting them mamey, a deep orange color, based on the Cuban mamey fruit. We worked with Stickbulb closely to achieve the finished design and the company’s production methods and materials tie in to Plant Food + Wine’s philosophy of sustainable, plant-based cuisine, making them a perfect fit for this project.”
Domestic manufacturing is becoming increasingly important to specifiers, according to McGovern. “I personally believe it’s becoming more and more ‘unfashionable’ in America to buy or support overseas manufacturing,” she says. “Budgetary concerns are always a driving force in design projects. If, however, a client is truly interested in supporting sustainable and locally made design, they will go the extra mile and budget for locally made design. A founding principle for Stickbulb designs has always been our ability to state ‘Made in America.’ We do have lead times though. As we make all our fixtures by hand, we require between 4 to 16 weeks to produce and ship orders. We will eventually carry certain pieces in stock, but we’re not quite there yet.”
Among local press, Plant Food + Wine receives just as much kudos for its aesthetic ambiance as for its emphasis on “living foods” featuring organic cuisine inspired by South Florida. The menu’s seasonal ingredients and broad wine/sake list meshes well with its dining room’s Contemporary environment.