A Chance Encounter
At the turn of 2023, renowned hip-hop entrepreneur Berner sought to reinvent his coveted creative compound. The sprawling Bay Area warehouse serves as the home base for his Cookies brand, which has become a cultural milestone the world over. Berner’s search for a collaborator to bring his vision to life initially yielded disappointing results, until his social media posts came to the attention of John Michael CEO and Co-Founder Michael Sloan. Answering the call, Sloan’s ambitious vision and readiness to accomplish Berner’s goals spawned a finished product that has redefined what was thought possible in modern kitchen and lounge design.
The Urban Farmer
Over the past 15 years, Berner has become one of the leading architects for the modern hip-hop hustle. Releasing his debut album in 2009 and signing to Taylor Gang Records shortly thereafter, Berner quickly established himself as a hip-hop mainstay with his prolific musical output. But all the while, Berner was gradually building his Cookies cannabis empire through his music, fashion and branding. In the subsequent years, Cookies has exploded in popularity and notoriety, with over 50 dispensaries and clothing stores located across the globe. As of 2023, Cookies is estimated to be worth a startling $1 billion and counting, with no signs of slowing down.
The Modern Crafter
The genesis of John Michael was forged in the early 2010s, when the father-son team of John and Michael Sloan observed a defined need in modern outdoor kitchen design. Combining John’s 50+ years of manufacturing experience with Michael’s design talent, a new kitchen was born, one that balanced unmatched durability with stylistic options never seen in the outdoor space. While the rest of the industry struggled to keep up, Michael was already plotting how to transition his groundbreaking designs to the stagnant indoor kitchen industry. With the debut of the award-winning John Michael indoor kitchen in 2020, Michael did exactly that, making waves across the design world and setting the course for the fateful partnership between Berner and John Michael.
When presented with the sheer amount of John Michael customization options, Berner gave Michael free reign to make selections as he saw fit. In response, Michael researched hundreds of materials, textures and design styles and approached Berner with a handful that he felt best exemplified the Cookies brand. Once agreed upon by all parties, work began. Originally intended as a facelift of his kitchen space, Berner eventually expanded the project to both the bar area and a one-of-a-kind meeting table as he saw his selections come to life.
The Custom Kitchen
Composed of three separate kitchens, the compound's kitchen and lounge areas are equal parts bold, boisterous and thrillingly modern. A sleek slate gray powder coat pairs with flat panel exteriors to achieve consistency across the expansive area. The main kitchen is punctuated by an 11-foot custom vent hood, with two individual blowers and outfitted in sleek polished aluminum. Floating shelves and front upper cabinets are adorned in a unique mirror finish never utilized in a residential project before or since, with the mirror finish continued into the cabinet interiors themselves. Downlit customized LED lighting also blends seamlessly with the mirror finish floating shelves, and all the internal and external cabinet components feature full LED lighting as well. For appliances, a 25” EVO flattop grilling surface is prominently featured, and the entire space is capped off by a custom powder-coated Fulgor Milano range with engravings signifying the Cookies x John Michael collaboration.
The Lounge & Bar
Style, purpose and practicality define the Cookies bar area. A custom electronics cabinet was tailored to include fans, which blow hot air out of the space to create a perfect ambient temperature for the interior. Also crafted for ideal storage were the twin glass front cabinets, with a humidor and magnetic seals installed to keep the stored Cookies within at a premium. A 12” walnut subwoofer was included as well, to ensure Taylor Gang music remains ever-present in the creative compound. Finally, a sink faucet, refrigeration and ice machine were incorporated to make for the ultimate bespoke serving space.
The Luxury SuperTable
The product of over 1000-man hours and sheer ingenuity, the final piece of the run is arguably its most eye-catching. The only one of its kind, this table was customized to be the nerve center of the entire creative compound. It features a black walnut tabletop with a torched burned finish and an X-shaped Rose Gold Aluminum inlay, a custom color unique to the project. The 16 ft, space age frame design is a metallic Rose Gold powder coated carbon steel frame, under-lit with adjustable LED lighting and lined with electronic business tools. A polished mirrored stainless steel Cookies icon floats within the base, symbolizing the unique table as the centerpiece of Berner's creative compound.
In July 2023, Berner embarked on the High School Reunion tour with fellow artists Snoop Dogg, Too $hort, Wiz Khalifa, Warren G and DJ Drama. Trekking through 33 cities across the country, the tour eventually stopped in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 8th. It was there that Berner and Michael had the chance to meet again and reminisce on their design build experience. Reflecting the business mindsets of both individuals, their collaboration was the product of trust, sheer creativity and fast execution. A true One-of-One project in every sense.