Design Consumption: Vol 1
The interior design at Revolution House is simply extraordinary, from the overall scheme inspired by American History, Ben Franklin and its neighborhood, down to the smallest of design details like skeleton keys molded inside concrete table tops. This place is all about details, details, details!
Design Consumption: Vol 1
Opened in May, a new restaurant in Old City aims to revolutionize the neighborhood and change your perception of hanging out in Old City. Here we take a look at it from outside in. The interior design at Revolution House is simply extraordinary, from the overall scheme inspired by American History, Ben Franklin and its neighborhood, down to the smallest of design details like skeleton keys molded inside concrete table tops. This place is all about details, details, details!
The name and many of the design details in the establishment were inspired by Ben Franklin’s Junto Society. It was a club where he met with twelve friends to discuss topics of the day and brainstorm ideas that would be beneficial to society. Junto Society doesn’t make for a catchy name so Revolution House was born.
Your experience doesn’t just start once you step inside, on display on the outside is their logo cast in iron, a side-walk chalkboard with a quote that harkens the theme of revolution, a shield with ornate filigree featuring the RH initials and stars; that functions as part of the door design, an antique gas lamp the likes of which illuminated the city when Ben Franklin walked its streets. All these are wonderful visual cues as to what to expect before you walk in.
Design-wise everything aims to celebrate and invoke history. Artifacts and decor come from old row homes, schools, barns, antique auctions, flea markets, reclaimed wood, up-cycled materials and custom designs by John Bolle, all of this was sourced and conceptualized by designer Dominic Episcopo and owner Luca Sena.
‘Unite and Dine’ floor mosaic greets you when you step in. It was inspired by Ben Franklin’s ‘Join, or Die’ woodcut from 1754. Each piece of the snake symbolized one of the colonies and the original graphic was one of the America’s first political cartoons.
Revolution House aims to be a neighborhood bar where the locals can hangout and enjoy great food and a fine selection of craft beers. It also aims to be a place that provides a unique enough experience to entice visitors who’re touring the area and want to continue the historic feel but with some contemporary and familiar comfort food.
Repurposed finds include benches from an old school (the stools in the background are modern reproductions) and, the Betsey Ross flag that was rendered in wood panels from an old barn.
The color scheme was inspired by confederate Civil War uniforms. The currently very popular Edison bulbs provide ambient lighting throughout the space.
The atmosphere and design at Revolution house is a balance between high and low, it is elegant but understated. There’s a continuous contrast of elements, a fancy chandelier against an exposed brick backdrop, wooden chairs paired with poured concrete table tops (created by John Bolle,) wood, leather, metal, glass, industrial piping and, ornate iron fixtures.
The epic antique chandelier is a actually two different pieces, the top half with the eagle originally from Bookbinders restaurant was combined with the bottom hanging glass segment . The huge mirror that reflects this beautiful elegance is from a old photo studio on Chestnut street. It even has a handwritten inscription of it’s original location, “No. 50, north 6th st.”
The entire second floor and roof deck were additions to the original structure. Both the upstairs and downstairs bars are over 100 years old. The up-cycled custom glass bottle chandelier consists of over 750 glass bottles that were collected from craigslist.
The log tables/benches are another John Bolle custom creation, the wood came from elevator beams found in the original building. They were cut into this shape to make them easier to move and carry around.
Fun detail, check out these skeleton keys that were cast inside each of the concrete poured table tops! Another nod to Mr. Franklin.
The artwork on display on the second floor also plays into this balance of high and low. Work by Kim Alsbrooks from her White Trash series features portraits of historic figures painted on modern day crushed beer cans.
The design experience doesn’t just end on the restaurant floor, the details are also poured into the bathroom! The faucets are custom made, they even wanted to use antique toilets! However plumbing and cracking of the materials prevented this extra attention to detail from happening.
The contrasts continue on the roof deck where zinc siding was used on the wall, plants hang from industrial hooks, cool metal chairs sit upon warm hardwood floors and lush vegetation brings it all together outdoors.
The outside vibe itself is a contrast; the inside of Revolution House recalls the olden days when Ben Franklin met with his contemporaries to discuss the topics of the day, whereas the rooftop deck calls on a more contemporary and young sensibility, a sense of openness and freedom.
The menu consists of traditional Mediterranean recipes from the owners’ families, along with customer favorites from the old restaurant that was in this space, Snow White. It’s an international blend of comfort food. This aspect really brings it all full circle, a reflection of the contemporary American landscape that’s enriched with cuisine from the old world along with American classics. There’s also a great craft beer selection from breweries such as Yards, Victory, Sixpoint, Allagash, Rogue, Ommegang, among others.
Try: Margherita pizza, quinoa salad with avocado, and meatball sandwich served on a pita with a deliciously seasoned side-salad.Information: 200 Market St. Philadelphia Twitter: @RevHouse200 Tel: 215-625-4566 Monday to Sunday, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.