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Upcycled Wood Pallets: The Forklift & Palate Restaurant

The Forklift & Palate Restaurant

If the walls of the Forklift & Palate Restaurant could talk, they would tell a tale of American enterprise and vision comingled with respect and care for the environment.

Upcycled wooden pallets at the center of attention in The Forklift & Palate Restaurant. Photography © Stephanie Jordan

Upcycled wooden pallets at the center of attention in The Forklift & Palate Restaurant. Photography © Stephanie Jordan

The Forklift & Palate Restaurant is housed along with The Warehouse Hotel and Spooky Nook Sports facility in a repurposed industrial warehouse in Manheim, PA. Located in the heart of the famed Pennsylvania Dutch country, the restaurant offers authentic down-home American hospitality, new twists on classic American culinary favorites, and surroundings that incorporate imaginative uses of the building’s original industrial trappings, including pallets, pallet slats and cable spools. Yes, we’re talking about pallets, wooden shipping skids that were stashed onsite when the former Armstrong World Industries distribution center was purchased and converted into a world-class sports training and entertainment center in 2011.

Photography © Stephanie Jordan

Photography © Stephanie Jordan

The Forklift & Palate Restaurant features recycled and repurposed materials from the original warehouse throughout the facility, right down to the cement in the driveway and the pallets that frame display murals on the walls. Tables in the restaurant and bar area made from used pallet slats sit adjacent to tables made from large circular wire spools lending a casual, rustic ambiance to the space. Every wall in the restaurant is unique; many are faced with pallet slats and other recycled materials. Even the menu holster at the hostess station is made from used pallet slats.

“Everybody loves the décor. It’s very natural, very authentic. And it’s a comfortable setting where people can relax and chill with friends, buddies and teammates,” said Tim Brandt, Forklift & Palate Restaurant manager. “The place has a great vibe and people feel really good about the green theme of reusing, recycling, being earth friendly. Of course, they love the great food and friendly service, too.”

Photography © Stephanie Jordan

Photography © Stephanie Jordan

The restaurant’s environmental ethos goes well beyond its contemporary industrial décor stylings to incorporate state-of-the-art environmental systems such as geothermal heating and rainwater recycling. “With all of our three entities, we are committed to environmentally friendly practices, from the types of cleaners we use to the conservation of water in our restrooms, turf watering practices and kitchens,” said Stephanie Jordan, Spooky Nook’s marketing manager. “By using repurposed building materials in our complex, restaurant and hotel, we hope to preserve not only beautiful Lancaster County, but also the history of this unique building.”

The Forklift & Palate Restaurant opened and began welcoming guests over the 2015 Independence Day weekend. The Spooky Nook complex, which sits on 65 acres and owes its name to its location on Spooky Nook Road, is the nation’s largest total experience sports destination. The Nook hosts tournaments, leagues, camps and clinics in sports ranging from baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey to fencing, tennis, soccer and scores of other sports activities.

(Article written for and published in PalletCentral, September-October 2015)

Pallets Move the World: Urban Coffee Farm

Pallets Move the World: Urban Coffee Farm

Urban Recycling

Wooden pallets stood at the center of attention during the 17-day Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Wood is a natural product that can be recycled, reused or upcycled in a variety of ways. Whatever you call it, the HASSELL design team used pallets donated from a local pallet manufacturer for the Urban Coffee Farm. As well as availability and cost-efficiency, the design team also selected the pallets to make a visual statement of the coffee story, understanding where the coffee they drink comes from and the journey made along the way – from plantation to café. At the conclusion of the festival, the pallets were returned to the pallet manufacturer.

About the Project

In March 2013 the Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar, designed by HASSELL architects, brought Australia’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival visitors together in an engaging learning and social environment that responded to this year’s festival theme of earth.

The core building materials of the Urban Coffee Farm were shipping containers and pallets. These materials from the transportation industry were the inspiration for the design team, to remind us of the journey made by coffee beans – from jungle plantation to city cafe. The Tasting Café and educational presentation zones were housed in shipping containers, disguised by the sculpted terrain of planted shipping pallets and crates.

The young designers group at HASSELL took advantage of Melbourne Square’s iconic Red Stairs public amphitheater to create a terraced landscape to install their farm and cafe. The space was then filled with coffee trees to give visitors a glimpse of the story of coffee – from seedling to coffee cup – while wandering through the farm. The pallets and containers used in the landscape brought to life the story about coffee, inspiring coffee drinkers to think about its origins, production and transport.

HASSELL has succeeded in transforming this space into an innovative pop-up experience that not only delivered on taste but also on design. The design team celebrated the REUSE of objects in order to serve the urban culture their coffee. A total of 125 coffee trees from a disused coffee plantation in New South Wales were used on the Farm and were later sold to someone who will replant them in Victoria. Over 2,000 tropical plants used to create the jungle effect were given back to the nursery that donated them for the duration of the Festival.

About 1,500 pallets were also donated for the Festival. These pallets were returned to the owner when the Festival ended. The three Port of Melbourne shipping containers, refitted as a bistro and kitchen, were at the end of their useful life; this was their final destination.

ReThink Pallets

ReThink Pallets

It took B sq. Design just 105 pallets, each 5” high, 40” wide and 48” long, to create the ultimate pallet garden for their annual installation at the Canada Blooms festival. The design firm wanted to do something different: rethink opportunities for humble pallets that extend their environmental life-cycle benefits. The clever use of pallets to create a small garden house and incorporating them as garden elements has given new meaning to uses for these common commercial shipping materials that would normally be shredded into mulch at the end of their traditional life-cycle.

At the end of the Canada Blooms festival, the entire installation was dismantled with the pallets returned to warehouses until their next useful life.

At the end of the Canada Blooms festival, the entire installation was dismantled with the pallets returned to warehouses until their next useful life.

B sq. Design firm is just one of many architect and design firms that PalletCentral has seen recently who are incorporating wooden pallets and using them in new ways at trade shows, in retail spaces, and in commercial and residential applications.

At the end of the Canada Blooms festival, the entire installation was dismantled with the pallets returned to warehouses until their next useful life.

Architects and designers are constantly challenged to think outside the box and create unique, cost-effective spaces for their clients. A natural option is incorporating wooden pallets into the design because they are often more readily available than other surface materials. The A.R.E. (Association for Retail Environment) is forecasting an increase in pop-up shops for retailers, industry and consumers. You will likely see wooden pallets increasingly incorporated into commercial projects across the globe. Send us your pictures of these unique and creative uses for pallets, or share a tweet to @palletcentral and we’ll feature more of these inspirational projects in the future.

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