Vibe District, Virginia Beach
Commune was truly a collaborative design effort between WPA and Kevin Jamison. We met Kevin in 2012 when he stopped by our studio with Farmer John to discuss plans for the Teaching Pavilion at New Earth Farm. What began with a hand sketch of a barn and a rooster led to one of our most rewarding pro bono projects, built by a team of volunteers using reclaimed materials. The same passion for growing organic fruits and vegetables and using the farm to teach about healthy living drove Kevin to start Commune, “a farmer-owned sustainable restaurant that uses local ingredients to serve delicious food and drink.” Kevin chose to locate Commune in the Vibe District, the cultural arts enclave within the Virginia Beach resort area. WPA worked with Kevin by designing in the field, sketching new details on-site each week as construction progressed. The design of the space is simple and understated, always allowing the food to be the focus of attention. A window into the kitchen allows patrons to connect with the food, while decorations take the form of jars of vegetables that have been freshly preserved or pickled and placed on display on the reclaimed service-station wood shelves. You can’t miss the pastry cabinet that greets you at the front door with freshly-made homemade breads and sweets. The interior of the space is warm and welcoming and boasts one of the most successful communal tables where people truly feel comfortable sitting down, having conversations, and making new friends. Once seated, the light-filled space invites patrons to gaze out of the corner ribbon window and connect with the activity of the Vibe District.