Marcus: (my poem for Alinea, in the style of ee cummings)hopelessnessBEEEEEPBEEEEEPBEEEEEPBEEEEEPBEEEEEP
“‘Do you know why four-star restaurants have tablecloths?’ Grant asked me as we started into our conversation.
‘I suppose it's because it feels luxurious. Fine white linens look and feel good. They are soft to the touch, beautifully made…’
Grant interrupted, ‘No, not really. It's because the table under the tablecloth is shitty. It's usually a piece of plywood bound to a wobbly base that is cheap and barely balanced. You may not recognize that consciously, but you know it, you can feel it.’
‘You know what I want?’ Grant asked, not waiting for my answer. ‘I want beautiful tables. Bare tables. Black ones.’ […]
‘Totally bare tables?’ I asked.
‘Yeah. It would look really striking and different. The plates and stainless will pop against the wood. It will feel strong under your hands.’ Grant clearly had pictured all this in his head a thousand times. I could see that the business plan was irrelevant compared to the vision he had in his head.
‘Is there a four-star restaurant anywhere with bare tables? Where do you put the silverware? What about water when glass sweats and it goes all over the wood with nothing to absorb it?’ My list of concerns was long. […]
We consulted Google. In this case, the quick survey was that no, there was not a top-30 restaurant in the world that had bare tables. The dew point of water could be calculated with a simple formula, and we could refrigerate water just above that temperature so that a glass would not sweat when placed on the table. Laundering fine linens for twenty-two tables, fifty weeks a year would cost approximately $42,000 annually. We could build mahogany tables for less. It all made perfect sense.
And just like that we had our first design mantra for the new restaurant -- no tablecloths.”