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From Plate to Palette

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Text by Emma Janzen

Photos by Tobias Prasse

Featured Company: Kava Design 

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Project Type: Restaurant

Project Name: Lulu & Po

It’s funny the ways in which designing and cooking intersect. Like a chef, an architect or interior designer is responsible for creating something beautiful out of raw ingredients. In the case of Brooklyn restaurant Lulu & Po, design firm KaVa was tasked with thinking like its kitchen counterparts and creating a space that would reflect owner and chef Matt Hamilton and wife Po Kutchins’s philosophy and attitude towards assembling a dish.

“The food is prepared and served in a visually straightforward way, and the complexity of taste comes from the bold layering and intersection of his ingredients,” creative director Kananshree Prasse says. She was similarly tasked with the goal of transforming “ordinary materials into a rich aggregation of tex- tures and colors” for the space.

All materials, like the ingredients used to make the house cuisine, are locally sourced or on-site transformations of existing materials. The light fixtures also were purchased from the city’s nearby lighting district. Each pendant light and chandelier is strategically placed so that “they bring the eye to specific locations in the restaurant while accent lighting gives volume to the variety of textures.”

One of the main identifying features of the space—a giant rooster wall mural—was an early design decision. “The very first mood board had images of a large graphic wall mural of a farm animal to set the tone of the space and ‘animate’ the design decisions,” Prasse says. “The image was selected carefully because of the drawing’s texture and the boldness of its gaze. Set against concrete and wood paneling, it is a subtle reminder that Matt enjoys sourcing his ingredients directly from farms and is the primary food handler for many of his dishes.”

Overall, Prasse is happy with how the overall aesthetic turned out. “This project is a result of a great partnership with the clients. They were actively engaged in the design process and willing to experiment with materials and finishes, hands on. The end project reflects Matt and Po’s dynamic personalities while also subtly building up the all-important anticipation for the meal to come."

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