Designing Within Wright - Design Bureau

Cafe 3

Cafe 3

Cafe 3

Cafe 3

Designing Within Wright

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Being picked as the firm to design two restaurants inside Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Guggenheim museum—regarded by design enthusiasts as the standard by which all  other architects should be measured—was a privilege not lost on Andre Kikoski. “It was  both an incredible honor and an exhilarating challenge,” he says. Kikoski’s Manhattan-based firm was tasked with designing  The Wright, a 1,600-square-foot upscale restaurant on the ground floor of the museum, and Cafe 3, an 850-square-foot espresso and snack bar adjacent to the permanent Kandinsky Gallery on the third floor.

In order to uphold the modern style of the renowned museum, Kikoski made a personal promise that his design would work with the existing structure rather than compete with it. “[The museum] is incredibly pure in its expression, and yet rich and refined in its presence,” says the architect. “Every time we visit, we see a new subtlety in it that deepens our appreciation of [the building’s] sophistication.”

“Our rotated geometries of primitive initials produced a multi-tiered canopy. Moving through the space and moving our eyes across it, [we found] it created some fun perspectives.”

The space features a curvilinear wall of walnut layered with illuminated fiber-optics; a bar created with custom metalwork and topped in white Corian; blue leather seating backed by woven grey texture; and a layered ceiling canopy. Kikoski says he chose colors and materials that were restrained, yet elegant. The restaurant, which opened in December 2009, was awarded “Outstanding Restaurant Design” by The James Beard Foundation in 2010.

For Cafe 3’s design, Kikoski and his team sought to create a similar style of work that was both “contemporary and complementary.”  To replicate the design ethos of the museum’s large structure on a smaller scale, Kikoski chose to replicate Wright’s “primitive initial”, the football-like shape of the rotunda’s columns and fountain, to bring energy and movement to the snack bar. “Our rotated geometries of primitive initials produced a multi-tiered canopy. Moving through the space and moving our eyes across it, [we found] it created some fun perspectives,” Kikoski says. “The elliptical form that is repeated in the columns, the rotunda fountain and stair tower enclosures, is transposed into the cafe’s elegant espresso bar and attenuated tapered counters.”

All elements  of  Cafe 3  were  constructed  using white Corian, a non-porous solid surface that created a fluid movement throughout the space, one that was also highly responsive to subtle variations in lighting.

Kikoksi’s thoughtful design process for The Wright and Cafe 3 meshed Wright’s signature architectural style with his own modern spin, resulting in two beautiful additions to the Guggenheim. Both pure, simple and award-winning designs have demonstrated it was no coincidence why the seven-year-old architecture firm was commissioned to create two custom designs within the Guggenheim.

 

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