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Uncharted Urbanism

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Photos by Evan Sung 

Featured Company: Parts and Labor Design

Location: King and Grove Hotel, Brooklyn, NY

Project Type: Restaurant

Project Name: The Elm

In a sea of vintage-clad bars and restaurants in Brooklyn, subterranean restaurant The Elm provides an alternative vision of what it means to be an urban eatery.

Instead of following Williamsburg’s rough-hewn design trends, Parts and Labor Design looked to the complex relationship between the city’s industrial landscape and the wild forests beyond to design the high-end restaurant on the cellar level of the King and Grove Hotel.

Parts and Labor principal Andrew Cohen says that the company kick-started the project by painting a specific framework for the aesthetic. “The minimalist, natural architectural palette of concrete and end-grain wood floors, glass partitions, and handmade paver wall tiles lay backdrop to the design elements within,” Cohen says. The structured palette provides ample opportunity for bringing in carefully chosen details to bring The Elm’s identity to life. “Though there is a level of refinement in the overall design,” Cohen adds, “its true character is found from the most subtle of details to the most overt of sculptural installations.”

Custom lighting and furniture are key elements of the design. On the industrial end of the spectrum, sculptural pendant lights reference vintage warehouse fixtures, while on the woodland side, a porcelain-dipped steel chandelier was crafted to look like branches or antlers, “complete with shotgun cartridge slots,” Cohen says. Other fixtures that evoke the outdoors are inspired by snowshoes, beehives, bird eggs, and honey jars, and a striking installation of felling and splitting axes seems “simultaneously precious and renegade.”

“The attention to detail and combinations of unexpected and luxurious materials is a signature of our work,” Cohen says. The resultant atmosphere is warm and refined yet lively and approachable. The owner particularly likes the use of materials in the space, citing “the mix of walnut, leather, concrete, and the nickel finishes” as his favorite aspects. “It’s earthy and masculine.”

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