PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Dallas

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NOVEMBER | PAGE 55 | 2014 GROWING UP ART. Robyn: My mother was a docent at the Dallas Museum of Art, my parents were collectors, and my grandmother had a background in art education, so art has always been an important part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are going to NorthPark Center to see Borofsky's Hammering Man, and my family made trips to museums a regular event, so I've always felt comfortable around art. I think the conversation about art, art education and public art are things that will always be important. SOWING SEEDS. Michael: I have always been interested in opening a restaurant. I began to research the idea of launching a food truck around 2007. At the time, we lived in L.A., and there is the perception that it's easy to find healthy and affordable food there, but in truth that was not the case. There were too few options in the market for food that was fast, healthy and affordable, so I saw a place where we could fill a need. I knew this was something I wanted to do, and we were ready to get back home, so I packed my bags and headed to Dallas and jumped right in to it. I had grown tired of hearing people say that someone should do this. I figured, why not me? I found a truck on Craigslist, and the rest is history. THE FOOD SIDE TRUCKING. Michael: I feel like the food-truck revolution has helped make foodie culture cool. People really love talking about their food, posting pictures online and furthering the discourse on food. I think food trucks have changed the dining experience and elevated less expensive food to new levels. You can have a great meal and do something different and not shell out $200 to do it. HEADING TO NORTHPARK. Michael: We were one of the first food trucks to set up downtown, and a lot of people from the Nasher [Sculpture Center] ate with us. Because of the link between Nasher and NorthPark, the move to opening Green House Market restaurant was really an organic extension for us. Having a fixed restaurant changes the complexion of what we do and adds new challenges, but it also gives us a lot more energy and ability to bring a higher level of food quality to the table. And it's nice to have the restaurant, because the truck can be brutal in summer. It's literally 40 degrees hotter inside the truck than it is outside, so you can imagine how we feel on 100-degree days. FOOD REVOLUTION. Michael: Food is in the spotlight. There is greater awareness, and people's expectations are changing. As a society we've moved to a place that is healthier and cleaner, and we've become much more open about what goes in the food we eat. Look at McDonald's French fries; they have 13 ingredients! It's about time that we ask why. Important issues like obesity, how food is produced and how ranchers treat their animals are things we think about when we put our menus together, because it's kind of scary what some places will put into the food they serve. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS. Michael: Knowing whom you work with gives your food an identity. We know where everything comes from that we sell, and we work with as many local vendors as possible. The ranch we use for our beef is just 25 miles outside of Dallas. I can visit and see that the cattle are being treated humanely. Our produce and meat come directly to us so I know it's fresh, and we cut out the middleman so we can pass those savings on to our customers. And we change what we offer seasonally as new things become available. We are the only place in Dallas that I know of to carry sweet nibbles, like Liddabit sweet chocolate-covered honeycomb and gourmet candy bars, Z-licious caramel corn (highly addictive), and Compartes chocolate (the Coney Island with milk-chocolate waffle cone is like none other). We are also one of two destinations in Dallas to offer Blue Bottle Coffee. And we use an in-house pastry chef who continues to add trail mixes, house-made biscotti and crackers. THE ART COMPONENT ART DIVIDED. Robyn: What I personally collect can be quite different from art that I advise others to buy. The art at Green House Market is different than the art we have installed in our home, though there is some crossover. For Green House Market, I curate works that are selected specifically for their content. For instance, artist Walead Beshty photographs an ongoing series of "dead malls," now-defunct American shopping centers that still exist as architectural mementos of our built environment. Another artist, Lucien Smith, directly references food in his art. Using an automatic process, he fills pie tins with paint that he then launches against a canvas. The end result is a "painting" that also looks like pies thrown against the wall. Other artists are chosen for their engagement with the restaurant space on a less obvious level. Both Ulli (Ulrich) Wulff [who created the series of black-and-white lyrical drawings on paper] and Jason Meadows [whose site-specific cloud- canopy sculpture is in the coved entry] visited the restaurant and created art in response. Still other art works deliberately take on food and design, the machine and the handmade, as is the intention in Margaret Lee's work. I like to think of the art in our home as being for us, whereas the art at Green House Market is to share. Our home currently has works installed by some of our favorites — Walead Beshty, Jonas Wood, Charles Mayton, Richard Aldrich, Joe Bradley and Nathan Hylden. FURNITURE AS ART. Robyn: We've taken our time to fill our home with furniture that we find together. Because our home is small, we've worked hard to find pieces that have the proper scale. We couldn't accommodate a standard sofa in our living room but found the Indigo loveseat from Ligne Roset that works perfectly in a tight space. Michael has a habit of finding killer furniture at auctions. He found six LCM chairs from the Milwaukee Public Library for our dining table and a Frank Gehry cardboard side chair for my office. We've also added a gray Nesta shag rug from Design Within Reach that I've always wanted. And I'm continually adding artist- designed pieces throughout the home — most notably, the Sean Duffy tarp/rug in my office, as well as the lamp made by Jason Meadows. SPACE IS ONLY TIME. Robyn: We have done more to our home than it appears. We designed the spaces to fit the intentions of the rooms — customizing an office to be my hub, a kitchen where Michael could cook and a living room where we can host friends. We painted all the walls white, took down sconces, curtains and anything else that hung and installed additional lighting throughout. Our architect from the restaurant [James Ferrara, Buchanan Architecture] helped us design shelving for the living room, dining area and office. Between my books, Michael's cooking equipment and our tabletop collection (I love china!), the millwork was key to making the house work for both of us. It also helped to modernize our generally nondescript 1940s cottage-style home. We're hoping to carve out time this fall for landscaping — I'm thinking textures and white fragrant flowers. All in good time! Michael and Robyn Siegel with terriers Smokey and Bandit in their living room. Vintage Saarinen coffee table, Bertoia Diamond chairs, Pierre Paulin Elysée loveseat, and Nesta shag rug from DWR. Details are key in the design at Green House Market. Jason Meadows' Mothership, a site-specific hanging sculpture, greets diners in the front of the store. On wall, Walead Beshty's black- and-white photographs of 1960s-1980s American malls. Robyn Siegel with an inside-out stuffed lion — a unique toy or sculpture by Perfect Reject. In the Green House Market shelves: Darren Bader's noodle soup with soap, noodle soup with electric razor, noodle soup with contact lenses, noodle soup with movie is activated by the Green House Market team. Artwork made in-house. Michael Siegel at Green House Market; watercolors by Ulrich Wulff. Bertoia Diamond chairs accompany Walead Beshty's FedEx Boxes and Dashiell Manley's study. Margaret Lee's Stool, Banana, Dots contrasts the easily made with the labor-intensive. Robyn riffs on this with an actual apple. The Siegels strive to blend art with subtle interior design, color and texture. The rug is based on an artwork by Sean Duffy. CB2 pouf. Eames LCW chair in red. Popsicles made by Michael Siegel with local fruit and herbs from the garden.

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