Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum's Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, New York City's newest restaurant The Wright opened to the public on December 11 in the famed museum. Named in honor of the great American architect, the intimate Upper East Side destination is located in an elegant and modern architectural space that is sure to dazzle trend-setters, fine diners, art lovers and world-travelers. Additionally, a site-specific sculpture by British artist Liam Gillick was commissioned for the space, creating a truly unique dining experience.
The Wright embraces the cosmopolitan excitement of today's New York. Designed in white by architect Andre Kikoski -- who was inspired by the original Wright museum design -- the restaurant decor is contemporary and chic. With a modern American menu created by David Bouley protege, Rodolfo Contreras, featuring distinctive cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients, The Wright will appeal to New Yorkers' savvy palates, as well as serve as a "must" destination for discerning travelers from around the globe.
"It was both an incredible honor and an exhilarating challenge to work within Wright's iconic building," says Kikoski, adding "every time we visit, we see a new subtlety in it that deepens our appreciation of its sophistication. We sought to create a work that is both contemporary and complementary."
The design solution references the building's architecture without repeating it, and in the process transforming familiar geometries, spatial effects and material qualities. The playfulness of forms and the dynamics of movement through this 1,600 square foot space imbue the design with novelty, subtlety and intrigue, in part through the material palette of the space.
The project is representative of Andre Kikoski Architect's style - inventive, dramatic and highly tactile. Sculptural forms for the flared ceiling, undulating banquette, and torqued bar and communal table are crafted in contemporary materials. They are based on Wright's underlying geometries. The design brings to life a play between these sculptural elements and the architecturally-layered, illuminated materials that invite participation and a sense of delight for all patrons.
"We chose materials and colors for these dynamic forms that are restrained and elegant" explains Andre Kikoski. The design features include: a curvilinear wall of walnut layered with illuminated fiber-optics; a bar clad in a shimmering skin of innovative custom metalwork and topped in seamless white Corian; a sweeping banquette with vivid blue leather seating backed by illuminated planes of woven grey texture; and a layered ceiling canopy of taut white membrane.
Andre Kikoski Architect's design philosophy for this restaurant engages the heightened sense of procession that is essential to the experience of this building - and the dynamic perception of art that it fosters. Surfaces and textures are animated by movement, creating an ever-changing fluid aesthetic that is an essential part of the design.
Photo: Philip Greenberg