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Urban Resort

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Photos by Dean Kaufman 

Featured Company: M.N.A.

Location: New York, NY

Project Type: Mixed-Use

Project Name: Tommy Bahama Bar, Restaurant, and Store

The divide between Tommy Bahama’s island-resort vibe and Midtown Manhattan’s urban bustle is a tough gap to bridge. But by mixing building materials and architectural styles, the designers at Michael Neumann Architecture have found common ground between the cays and the city in the Tommy Bahama flagship store, bar, and restaurant in New York City.

“The double-height space with atrium and ipe louvers represents the airy, casual, and relaxed quality of the tropical resort,” Michael Neumann says of the clothing store’s interior. “But modern, grittier materials like the blackened metal display cages and the black metal and brass lanterns give a harder urban edge that says, ‘This store is in the city.’”

The oversized black metal chandeliers that hang from the store’s ceiling are especially emblematic of the Tommy Bahama brand, as they are meant to conjure images of tea lights or camp lanterns. Beyond being evocative of an island resort, the lighting is yet another example of the store’s dynamic design. “The lanterns are set at intervals and heights that connect the dramatic entry with the second-level restaurant and create a sense of light and balance in the space,” says Peter Williamson, the lighting designer for the retail space.

Neumann’s team made plenty of other stylistic choices to achieve the appropriate balance of low-key ambience and urban sophistication. “The combination of materials and details that mix high design, [like] brass chandeliers, with low design, [like] whitewashed poplar millwork, enrich the narrative of the urban resort,” Neumann says.

That narrative continues into the Marlin Bar and Restaurant, which features a hand-painted tropical mural and old surfing photographs alongside vintage pictures of New York mainstays like Coney Island and Ebbets Field. Even the wooden window louvers in the bar are made of salvaged Coney Island boardwalk wood. But perhaps the most indicative of the urban resort feel is the sweeping staircase in the Marlin Bar, which Neumann says acts as the big architectural statement of the space.“Its detailing is reminiscent of wrapped rope that one might find in a nautical setting,” he says, “but it is abstracted in an elegant and urban way.”

This detail-oriented approach to design lets Tommy Bahama customers experience an island getaway that is at home in New York.

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