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Barn Lights Bridge Steampunk Brand Identity with Building’s Historic Roots

If you think the highlight of a mini-golf game is getting a brightly colored ball past whirling windmill blades, think again. The founders of Urban Putt have stepped up the indoor mini-golf experience with a high-tech, electrifying course designed by industrial designers, robotics engineers, and artists. Throw in top-notch food and drinks and you have a venue everyone in the family will enjoy!

Chris Holzwart, architect with Roth Sheppard Architects, was tapped to serve as project manager for Urban Putt’s newest location, an extensive remodel of a 12,000-square-foot space in Denver, Colorado’s historic Cable Railway Building.

“The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and was completed in 1889,” Chris says. “It is one of the few remaining structures from Denver’s streetcar history re-purposed for modern use.” Urban Putt occupies a large historic warehouse with 17-foot ceilings, timber post-and-beam structure, and exposed brick walls.

For the restaurant on site, Chris sought out lighting that complemented both the steampunk aesthetic of the Urban Putt brand and the industrial history of the Cable Building. He worked with Visual Interest‘s Bryan Klammer, one of Barn Light Electric’s commercial reps, to find lighting that was both functional and appropriate for the space.

“Our design intent was for the lighting to amplify greatly the drama of the existing features and textures,” he explains. “We wanted to avoid the modern tactic of consistent lighting throughout because that’s not how it was historically accomplished in these big warehouses. Rather, exposed or minimally shaded bulbs dropped from fantastically high ceilings throwing just enough light for a small work area, creating a hot spot, then a quick fall off into a shadow. We wanted to created distinct nodes of warm glow scattered throughout the restaurant.”

The vintage bar, situated on one side of the space, was once owned by Colorado native and boxing legend Jack Dempsey who fought in the early 1900s. The previous tenant had it installed in the early 1970s, and Chris was thrilled to incorporate this piece of history into the restaurant. He chose to highlight the bar with 11 Avalon Pendants crafted from Raw Copper.

“We chose the smaller, 8″ shade for these to avoid blocking the view of the back bar while presenting pops of raw copper color,” Chris notes. “The lighting highlights the hand-carved ornateness of the bar while adding to the vintage elements.”

Communal tables in the center of the space offered an opportunity for a more dramatic visual element. Barn Light Electric’s team of engineers created a custom chandelier by expanding a standard chandelier to a 9-foot long, 3-foot high jewel suspended over the tables.

Similar to the Vanguard Chandelier, these American-made, industrial-style fixtures feature 18 cast-guard-and-glass lights with a Textured Black finish and ribbed glass.

“We wanted a fixture that gave a commanding presence overhead but wasn’t solid or bulky enough to block views of the surrounding architecture,” Chris notes. “The intent to create layers of visual excitement is important to the success of such a dynamic entertainment concept.”

Along the walls, more industrial lights highlight the texture of the old brickwork. Atomic Topless Double Industrial Guard Sconces , customized with standard cast guards, Textured Black finish, and ribbed glass, cast a soft glow over the bricks while maintaining the industrial vibe.

“The Textured Black finish gives a serious tone to the fixtures combined with their industrial cast guards,” Chris says. “The beauty of the ribbed glass is that it semi-obscures the direct view of the LED bulbs and also refracts the light just enough to make the vapor jars appear to sparkle.”

Nearby booths provide more intimate seating and are illuminated with classic Original™ Warehouse Pendant Lights. These oversized shades are a generous 24″ and finished in Textured Black. Chris adds that these pendants call out the table dining experience option while also giving diners a sense of privacy with the large shade overhead.

“We especially love the details of the steel pipe fittings, the quality of the natural copper material, and certainly the vapor jars and cages,” Chris says. “We are most proud of how appropriate the Barn Light fixtures feel in this historic space.”

Photos courtesy of Jake Holschuh

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