Spiros Zakas, designer
When I started to edit the conversation, I had with peter back in June of this year, I realized there was a chunk of information about his brother Spiros Zakas who founded the design firm Zakaspace, that didn’t quite fit into the 30 minutes or so I had allotted for the podcast. Now I realize the first rule of podcasting is that there are no rules, but be that as it may, I wanted to keep some sort of structure.
Spiros was a very large influence in restaurant designs starting in the mid 70’s not only in Chicago with the work he did lettuce entertain you and others, but around the country as well. He had a sense of place and purpose in his restaurant designs that not only created a great experience for the guest, but also provided a practical approach to operations as well. Elements that all too often in a lot of restaurants I’ve seen and worked with don’t co-exist as well as they should. Too many designers today are more focused on form than function which may create a beautiful environment for the guest but presents inherent operating difficulties that get in the way of good service.
Well anyway, I’m not sure I want to call Spiros a pioneer or a visionary, but he was a designer who listened to the needs of the operator and was able to provide beautiful and workable environments. A true rare commodity that his brother peter, Silvia Milic and now peter’s son P.J. are keeping alive in their firm, Z-Space design