The Ghost Light Restaurant & Lounge is a destination dining and lounge space inside Crowne Plaza Cleveland, in the heart of Playhouse Square. It caters to theater show-goers who want to enjoy a cocktail before the curtain rises, and to sports enthusiasts who stop in before or after a game. It’s a place for family Sunday brunch, business dinner meetings and causal dining throughout the day. Because of the diversity of guests it serves and its attractive location in the energetic Playhouse district, Crowne Plaza wanted to create an updated, modern experience.

The existing design was segmented, last updated in the early 1990s and featuring heavy, corporate-style wood paneling. The goal: To open up the space, celebrate its connection to Downtown Cleveland and Playhouse Square, and create a luxe casual experience for a variety of patrons.

Perhaps the most obvious connection to Playhouse is a large-scale brass light fixture above the bar that mimics Playhouse Square’s Grand Chandelier and is a centerpiece for the entire space. We introduced a rich, green-marble bar top and extended the color palette with cognac-orange hues and deep blue. Channel tufted barstools pick up the vertical lines of the space’s existing linear ceiling fixture, and the vertical pattern is repeated in a walnut tambour wall panel treatment. Columns were clad in glossy soft white tile that is set vertically, playing to the linear rhythm in a subtle way.

Industrial elements that speak to Cleveland were introduced, including custom metal frame fixtures that allow for vertical mounting and showcase the city’s imagery, a tie back to the local experience.

Our graphics team created a logo which combines contemporary cues with classic elements; the beams of light connect back to the ceiling detail. Modern touches of the icon work in harmony with traditional styling of typography. The restaurant’s new brand helps fully tie in the name with the interior, and moving forward, provides them with a memorable and versatile mark they can use in various capacities and scales.

As for the story of Ghost Light’s name (chosen by the Playhouse Square team), it is based off an old theatrical superstition that every theater has a ghost, and a lantern-style ghost light burns through the night or whenever the theater is empty. The purpose: to appease the ghosts, even giving them light so they can perform on stage. (A happy ghost won’t curse the theater, as the stories go.) A replica Ghost Light fixture for the restaurant is in the works.

Photography: John Spaulding www.johnspauldingphotography.com

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Children’s Museum of Cleveland