Contract - Brooklyn Baroque: Choice Restaurant, Brooklyn, New York, Designed by Evan Douglis Studio, LLC

design - features - hospitality design



Brooklyn Baroque: Choice Restaurant, Brooklyn, New York, Designed by Evan Douglis Studio, LLC

13 December, 2010

-By Michael Webb


“The best restaurants are sensory theater, full of associations,” says architect Evan Douglis, “but this can be realized in a subliminal way.” At Choice, a casual restaurant in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, the spectacle is overhead. Douglis employed computer software to create a richly molded ceiling, illuminated from bubbles of blown glass that are suspended like bunches of grapes from a trellis. A dark metallic umber tone provides the old-word character the clients requested, but the swirling relief surface was generated by the latest computer software. The apparent complexity is an illusion, for it is based on a single hexagonal tile, cast from a mold. Douglis describes the ceiling as “an excitable cloud” that doubles as a functional plane, with apertures for lighting, sprinklers, and speakers.

Choice seats 65 and was created from 3,000 sq. ft. of retail space at the corner of a new apartment tower. The existing concrete floors were sanded and given a glossy polyurethane finish. Walls and structural columns are clad in a Chinese stone that resembles petrified wood, and the blocky tables and benches are walnut. The ceiling is outlined with recessed cove lighting in a warm tone of fluorescent, which illuminates the laser-cut, stainless-steel letters attached by magnets to a Corten menu board. A fretted metal screen was designed to shade the windows, but the owners were in a hurry to open the restaurant and this feature has yet to be installed.

Douglis has won acclaim for his gallery installations and for Haku, an award-winning Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which was subsequently sold. As Dean of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., he presides over a major research facility, and this reinforces his own passion for fusing art and technology. He uses the computer to generate unique environments and create modular elements that can be produced in quantity and recombined in different ways. For example, the hexagonal tile of the Choice ceiling was cast from a CNC-milled mold, using a non-toxic fire-tested green polymer, and it can be custom produced in any color or finish.

The chandeliers also are available as a product. “Rather than sketch the light fixtures, I fabricated a prototype to show the client,” says Douglis. “The swirling tiles were inspired by the chef’s French pastries, and the chandeliers, which I call ‘Moon Jelly,’ suggest a translucent jell emerging from the cones.” It also emerged from a year of research into pneumatic structures and the ways that a sphere of blown glass bifurcates as it collides with a cage of piano wire. Diners gazing up from their salads and panini may see little more than a shimmer of highlights and a sparkle of glass, but the experience of dining here is subtly enhanced by the richness of the moldings.

“People come in and their jaws drop,” says William Ruggiero, the property developer. “Choice has put our building on the map, and we were nominated for a James Beard Restaurant Award. Evan gave us an extraordinary design and his sensibility meshed with ours in a very productive way.”

who
Owner: CARA Construction. Architect: Evan Douglis Studio, LLC. Architect: Dave Mans, project director; Richard Sarrach, design consultant; Alex Drabyk, Sebastian Misiurek, Guillermo Bernal, Scott Sorenson, fabrication team. Contractor: CARA Construction.: Faux finishing: Biehle Brother; Nora Biehle. Urethane Casting Fabricator: Beyond Design; Bill Klopping. Lighting Consultant: SM Lighting. Photographer: Michael Moran.

what
Custom modular tile ceiling: Evan Douglis Studio, LLC. Lighting: custom glass-blown chandeliers, Evan Douglis Studio, LLC. Cafeteria, dining, tables: Custom bench seating by Evan Douglis Studio, LLC.

where
Location: Brooklyn, NY. Total floor area: 3,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: one.




Brooklyn Baroque: Choice Restaurant, Brooklyn, New York, Designed by Evan Douglis Studio, LLC

13 December, 2010


Michael Moran

“The best restaurants are sensory theater, full of associations,” says architect Evan Douglis, “but this can be realized in a subliminal way.” At Choice, a casual restaurant in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, the spectacle is overhead. Douglis employed computer software to create a richly molded ceiling, illuminated from bubbles of blown glass that are suspended like bunches of grapes from a trellis. A dark metallic umber tone provides the old-word character the clients requested, but the swirling relief surface was generated by the latest computer software. The apparent complexity is an illusion, for it is based on a single hexagonal tile, cast from a mold. Douglis describes the ceiling as “an excitable cloud” that doubles as a functional plane, with apertures for lighting, sprinklers, and speakers.

Choice seats 65 and was created from 3,000 sq. ft. of retail space at the corner of a new apartment tower. The existing concrete floors were sanded and given a glossy polyurethane finish. Walls and structural columns are clad in a Chinese stone that resembles petrified wood, and the blocky tables and benches are walnut. The ceiling is outlined with recessed cove lighting in a warm tone of fluorescent, which illuminates the laser-cut, stainless-steel letters attached by magnets to a Corten menu board. A fretted metal screen was designed to shade the windows, but the owners were in a hurry to open the restaurant and this feature has yet to be installed.

Douglis has won acclaim for his gallery installations and for Haku, an award-winning Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which was subsequently sold. As Dean of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., he presides over a major research facility, and this reinforces his own passion for fusing art and technology. He uses the computer to generate unique environments and create modular elements that can be produced in quantity and recombined in different ways. For example, the hexagonal tile of the Choice ceiling was cast from a CNC-milled mold, using a non-toxic fire-tested green polymer, and it can be custom produced in any color or finish.

The chandeliers also are available as a product. “Rather than sketch the light fixtures, I fabricated a prototype to show the client,” says Douglis. “The swirling tiles were inspired by the chef’s French pastries, and the chandeliers, which I call ‘Moon Jelly,’ suggest a translucent jell emerging from the cones.” It also emerged from a year of research into pneumatic structures and the ways that a sphere of blown glass bifurcates as it collides with a cage of piano wire. Diners gazing up from their salads and panini may see little more than a shimmer of highlights and a sparkle of glass, but the experience of dining here is subtly enhanced by the richness of the moldings.

“People come in and their jaws drop,” says William Ruggiero, the property developer. “Choice has put our building on the map, and we were nominated for a James Beard Restaurant Award. Evan gave us an extraordinary design and his sensibility meshed with ours in a very productive way.”

who
Owner: CARA Construction. Architect: Evan Douglis Studio, LLC. Architect: Dave Mans, project director; Richard Sarrach, design consultant; Alex Drabyk, Sebastian Misiurek, Guillermo Bernal, Scott Sorenson, fabrication team. Contractor: CARA Construction.: Faux finishing: Biehle Brother; Nora Biehle. Urethane Casting Fabricator: Beyond Design; Bill Klopping. Lighting Consultant: SM Lighting. Photographer: Michael Moran.

what
Custom modular tile ceiling: Evan Douglis Studio, LLC. Lighting: custom glass-blown chandeliers, Evan Douglis Studio, LLC. Cafeteria, dining, tables: Custom bench seating by Evan Douglis Studio, LLC.

where
Location: Brooklyn, NY. Total floor area: 3,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: one.

 


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