Mise Magazine interview for Design of Aster Restaurant
When you set out to do these sorts of rapid-fire questionnaires, you hope that your subject answers with a modicum of passing interest, and says at least one witty thing.
It usually works out pretty well, but it's a gargantuan undertaking, attempting to capture the make-up of a single soul in under a few minutes, so your expectations remain low and you bank on a little glimmer.
And then, on occasion, someone takes it and runs with it so fiercely they surprise you. Designer Scott Kester, a frequent collaborator of restaurant groups in New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo, is that someone. Fresh off the completion of Aster, the shiny new collaboration from chef Brett Cooper and the Daniel Patterson Group in San Francisco, Kester represents the creatives we tend to forget about amidst the hoopla surrounding the things we get to eat—the ones who are responsible for your first impressions, and give the talent a physical stage to stand on.
Does a space design itself, or is each a blank slate?
Nothing designs itself. There are always issues to contend with in each space. I’m not sure there could ever be a perfect space to receive a design. The imperfections make opportunities that can be highlighted. When I was an architect, and in architecture school, I was perturbed by the desire architects had to make a building. This was the blank slate thinking. There was deep desire to place a lone building in a landscape. That was the ideal project. Or build the most unique skyscraper, it was the same impulse. It’s like there was a friction in architecture and architects to differentiate themselves from the environment. To me the goal is create a visceral experience for the guest. To make a place we want to visit again and again, create memories, and to live with—to live inside. I admire great buildings but I appreciate a place that calms me more than impresses me. The best designs seem to take things away from the world instead of add to the world.