The words ‘drab’, ‘dark’ and ‘dull’ are often used to describe the winter weather, or, in some cases, they are used by Principia students to describe the decorations in the Piasa Pub on campus.
Depending on the door you use to enter the Pub, the first thing you might notice is the large metal sculpture above the fireplace. As you draw nearer, there is a plaque on the bottom left of the fireplace that explains its origins. It is supposed to portray the famous Piasa figure from a Cahokian mural. Sophomore Maddie Kliewer said, “[I do] not like it. It always left me confused.”
The last time the pub was renovated was in 2002. The renovating team was made up of the College president, student life committee, Principia Interior Design committee, and a contracted professional designer, among others. This information is also displayed on a plaque on the other side of the fireplace, facing the grill. That year, the booths, tables and soft seating in front of the fireplace were replaced. The booths are the only pieces of décor that students still seem to appreciate. Sophomore and student manager Kalila Kalani said it creates “A warmer, intimate feel[ing].”
The Pub feels like it’s attempting to achieve a modern, hole-in-the-wall feel, but it falls short. Kalani, one of the Pub’s student managers, said, “I think there is a lot of space that could be used more creatively. Take, for example, the counter opposite shake side. The entire wall is just empty when they could add some paintings to give it personality. The furniture could use some reupholstering too. Some of the seats are really filthy.”
Sophomore Noah Hellmund, another Pub student worker, said, “The curtains that hang over each booth need to be replaced, as do the carpets.”
A potential source for new Pub art is Voney Art Studio, which is full of art that students have left behind. They could be used to dress up the bare brick walls. The current student body could also contribute their paintings, drawings, pictures, and other art pieces to the cause.
Another renovation that could be made would be to add sound panels below the ceiling, which is so high that the echoes make the Pub seem noisier than it actually is. If sound panels were added, the Pub could do away with the curtains altogether, which both Kalani and Hellmund agreed look really worn and filthy. If some feel too attached for such a change, maybe the Pub could opt to replace them with a brighter color.
Given the record low numbers of student workers this semester, renovation could be a good way to attract more student workers. Remaking the image of the Pub as a cool place to hang out could be good for business.