playground concepts is a creative development company that specializes in restaurant and hospitality projects. We are a design-driven team that is committed to developing properties that reinvigorate communities and drive value for our investors. With a mix of consultants that range from real estate brokers to restaurateurs, playground concepts is a full fledged team that is ready to take on ground-up projects as well as renovations from concept to completion.
Bradley Schnell is the Principal and Founder of playground agency and the CEO of playground concepts, a hospitality design and development company . Bradley’s design sensibility stems from his bi-coastal aesthetic, as well as a broad range of design-focused experiences in advertising, architecture and a design think tank. Fascinated with buildings, structure and improving the way people live and interact, he earned a Masters in Architecture from one of the country’s top-ranked architectural design schools, the University of Pennsylvania. After completing this program with honors, he went on to a one year fellowship at UC San Diego to study the psychology of spaces and how the built environment shapes the human experience. His projects range from work on radical modernist structures for major museums to restaurants and commercial spaces.
Before earning his Masters in Architecture, Bradley worked on some of the nation’s best known advertising and branding campaigns at one of LA’s premier advertising and graphic design agencies. These foundational years in advertising merged with an understanding of architecture, lead Bradley to create a firm that understood how these disciplines interact and complement each other to great effect. Known for using architecture as one of the biggest canvases for advertising and branding, Bradley’s work at playground epitomizes the intersection of the disciplines to create rich, satisfying spaces. Bradley’s work runs the gamut from experimental to traditional, reflecting his background as an artist, historian and explorer.
He is a reformed academic, a former collegiate athlete and always willing to debate the merits of social theory and design equity with anyone willing to listen. In his free time, you'll likely find him in the kitchen, preparing the most gorgeously plated food and cocktails.
“What you should try to accomplish is built meaning. So get close to meaning and build!”
— Aldo van Eyck
Greg Van de Velde
Greg Van de Velde brings 20 years of hospitality experience in both the U.S. and Italy to the playground team. As a partner in some of San Diego's most celebrated restaurants, Greg brings an in-depth knowledge of functional hospitality design, including all details of front and back of house and guest experience. He's also our go-to for developing beverage programs, menus and retail.
From managing restaurants grossing more than $11 million dollars in sales annually, Greg has expertise in all sides of restaurant and hospitality business. With a slew of award-winning restaurant experiences under his belt, Greg is our go-to for all things hospitality.
As the former General Manager and current Partner/Owner of Bottega Americano, Van de Velde oversaw construction, front of house operations, and business decisions at the restaurant. He also developed their wine list, sit-down menu, to-go menu and marketplace retail space. Readers of San Diego Magazine selected Bottega Americano, located in downtown San Diego, as “Best New Restaurant” in 2015. Prior to that, Van de Velde spent 13 years at San Diego’s renowned Bertrand at Mister A’s. As Maitre d’Hotel and General Manager, Van de Velde managed upwards of $11 million dollars in gross sales annually. The restaurant has consistently won “Best American” from the California Restaurant Association and was recognized as a three-diamond property under his management. During his time at Mister A’s, Van de Velde developed a close working relationship with local hotel concierge and the San Diego Convention Center.
Van de Velde is an active member of the California Restaurant Association and serves on the Board. He leads the CRA’s Education Committee which aims to educate and mentor local students, who are interested in pursuing careers in the restaurant industry.
He's a family man at heart and an industry insider with over 20 years of experience operating some of the best hospitality concepts in southern California. Greg exemplifies pure hospitality--you can definitely count on your glass remaining full when Greg's in a room.
kristine schnell is the creative director and co-founder of playground and the chief creative vision for playground concepts. Enthralled with art, design and the built environment from a young age, she's known for designing elegant spaces with a unique edge. With a classical education in art, architecture and design, her love of beautiful details has taken her around the world in search of the exquisite, from the ruins of Greece to the rolling hills of Tuscany, exploring the markets of Mexico City to sourcing one-of-a-kind ceramics in southern China. As the chief creative vision behind both commercial and residential projects, kristine brings an encyclopedic library of visual knowledge, blending classical styles with an equal sense of restraint and irreverence.
She is a voracious reader, a former ballerina and dreams in French when she’s had a very good day. When she’s not designing, you’ll find Kristine traveling the world in search of the exquisite, sipping rose in Sonoma or paddle boarding around San Diego’s beautiful bays. Adores champagne, fine leather goods and creating signature spaces.
“I’m very much down to earth, just not this earth.”
— Karl Lagerfeld